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Watch thieves steal a catalytic converter near Cambridge - and find out the makes of car and locations targeted

Catalytic converters are being stolen across the Cambridge region at a rate of more than one a day by suspected gangs from outside the county.

Cambridgeshire police have alerted motorists to the risk of their cars being targeted - and detailed where thefts have taken place and the makes of cars most commonly targeted.

More than 40 thefts have been reported in the south of the county alone since the start of February, police said today (March 3). One such theft was caught on camera in Impington.

Thieves have also struck vehicles on the driveways or near homes in Cambridge, Milton, Histon, Bottisham, Comberton, Fordham, Stretham, Soham, Isleham, Wilburton, Ely, Newmarket, Wicken, Stetchworth, St Neots, Little Paxton, Buckden, Brampton, Yaxley and Sawtry.

It takes thieves just minutes to remove a catalytic converter.

They are found in the exhaust system of every car and reduce the output of toxic gases and pollutants.

They have become popular targets for thieves due to their ready availability, the fact that they are not easily identifiable and can be sold on for the precious metals found inside them.

An exhaust system with catalytic converter
An exhaust system with catalytic converter

The most common cars targeted are Toyotas and Hondas, but thefts from other makes including Lexus, Mercedes, Mazda and Volkswagen have also recorded

Detective Inspector Nick Cook said: “We believe there are a number of groups of people coming from out of the county to carry out these thefts.

“It takes just minutes for these people to remove a catalytic converter and on many occasions victims are unaware their vehicle has been targeted even though it was sat on their driveway.

“While we’re putting efforts in to catch those responsible, we need members of the public to call us if they suspect their vehicle is being targeted so we can deploy our resources as it’s likely they have moved on to the next street.”

How to reduce the risk of your car being targeted by catalytic converter thieves

Cambridgeshire police said motorists can take the following precautions to help prevent them from becoming a victim:

  • Park your car in a garage if possible or in a lit area up against a fence/wall/other vehicle so it can’t be lifted
  • Avoid parking half-on-half-off the pavement
  • Consider a catalytic lock which a garage can install
  • Fit a tilt car alarm
  • Mark your catalytic converter
  • Install a video doorbell and/or driveway alarm that will alert you to suspicious activity.

Anyone with information should report online at https://bit.ly/2D9KFKH or call 101.

Always call 999 if a crime is in progress.

Further crime prevention advice is available at https://bit.ly/3e28zIu.

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