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Catalytic converter theft is a growing problem in many places, primarily due to the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Thieves target these metals for their high market value. Here are some key points about catalytic converter theft:

  1. Why Catalytic Converters Are Stolen:

    • Precious Metals: Catalytic converters contain precious metals, which can be sold for a significant amount of money.

    • Easy Access: They are relatively accessible under most vehicles, making them easy targets for thieves.

  2. Vehicles at Risk:

    • Hybrid Cars: Hybrid vehicles are often targeted because their catalytic converters are used less frequently, and the metals inside are less likely to be damaged.

    • High-Ride Vehicles: Trucks and SUVs are often targeted because they provide more space underneath for thieves to work.

  3. Preventive Measures:

    • Parking in Well-Lit Areas: Parking in well-lit areas or garages can deter thieves.

    • Install a Shield or Cage: Specialized devices can be installed to protect the catalytic converter.

    • Engrave or Mark: Engraving your vehicle's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on the catalytic converter can make it traceable.

  4. Legal Response:

    • Many places have introduced stricter regulations regarding the sale of catalytic converters, requiring proof of ownership.

  5. Report Thefts:

    • If your catalytic converter is stolen, report it to the police. Providing them with as much information as possible, such as the serial number, can be helpful.

  6. Insurance Coverage:

    • Some auto insurance policies may cover the cost of replacement if your catalytic converter is stolen.

  7. Alternative Technologies:

    • There are alternative technologies being developed to reduce or eliminate the need for traditional catalytic converters in the future.

It's important to stay informed about catalytic converter theft in your area and take steps to protect your vehicle if you live in a high-risk area. If you're concerned about this issue, you may also want to consult with local law enforcement or a security expert for additional guidance.

Norfolk Constabulary has said more than 100 such thefts have been carried out so far this year, compared to a total of 12 in 2019 and 165 in 2022.

The majority of thefts had been reported in public car parks during the day but more recently there have been incidents in residential streets and driveways at night.

Data also shows some cars are more popular than others among thieves, with Toyotas and Hondas being the most targeted.

Warning to residents as more than four catalytic converters stolen every day in Cambridgeshire.

The police are warning people not to approach the catalytic converter thieves as "they have been known to be violent in the past and may even be carrying weapons" but instead call 999 if they see any suspicious behaviour


Mark your converter

You can ask your dealer or garage to add a serial number to your catalytic converter and ask for advice

Surge in crime

The popularity of hybrid cars has contributed to a surge in crime. Why hybrid cars and vans are more likely to be stolen because they sit higher from the ground

Boost your security

Invest in sturdy garage doors-cctv system, and security lighting overlooking your drive. Thefts can cost £1,500 and could write off your vehicle

Information you may like to consider

Not all cars are at risk, with some models having the catalytic converter mounted within the engine bay. This makes it much harder to steal. Drivers should check with their local dealership if they are unsure. 

The Metropolitan Police has a published advice on reducing the risk of your cat being stolen. The tips include:

  • Park your car in a locked garage overnight

  • Try to park in a location that is well-lit and overlooked

  • Avoid mounting your car on the kerb, as it gives thieves easier access

  • Install CCTV to cover where your car is parked

  • Mark your catalytic converter with a forensic marker, which can make it harder to sell on

  • Speak to a car dealer about a tilt sensor that activates an alarm if a thief tries to jack up your vehicle

Security marking a catalytic converter



One police force has been prioritising car crime recently. It’s resulted in over 100 illegal garages, nicknamed chop-shops, shut down by officers and hundreds of stolen cars returned to their owners since the start of 2022. In response to the surge in car crime, the Commissioner has also pledged to tackle this head on with future campaigns targeting manufacturers, auction sites and law makers to help those within their area who are victims of car crime.       July 2023  

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