Thames Valley Police in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse have instigated a new crime prevention initiative using specialist metal etching kits to put the brakes on a fast-growing trend for catalytic (CAT) converter theft from vehicles in the area.
TVP are keen to raise awareness of CAT theft, following a spate of motor crime across the Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage areas.
With ongoing demand from the Far East for precious metals and parts that are contained in them, thieves have been targeting larger vehicles such as vans because it is easier to slide underneath them to steal the converter, and also because the CATs are bigger and therefore contain more precious metal.
The scheme involves the use of the Selectamark CAT Marking Kit, which contains heat resistant security stencils and metal etching fluid to permanently mark the CATs with a unique registration code, ensuring it will be very difficult for thieves to pass on stolen goods to scrap yard dealers.
Ali Smith, South and Vale LPA Crime Prevention and Reduction Advisor, said: “We have written to 1,000 vehicle owners highlighting the problem of catalytic converter theft, particularly in relation to Ford Galaxy and Mercedes Sprinter vans, which have been specifically targeted.
“We are inviting these owners to collect property marking kits from us in order to protect their vehicle parts from theft. They cost £5 and are available from the police stations in Abingdon, Thame, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley.
“Once an unmarked converter has been removed from a vehicle it is very difficult to link it back to that vehicle, as there aren't any distinguishing features. However, if it has been marked using the Selectamark product it will have a unique code on it, which can be easily linked back to the individual vehicle and the registered owner, via the Police approved Secure Asset Register database.
“If a thief tries to sell on a marked catalytic converter, police will not only be able to link the converter back to the car it came from, but will also be able to link the thief to the crime scene.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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