Essex: Tackling catalytic converter theft
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Last week our officers visited 34 local scrapyards and vehicle dismantlers as part of a week of action to tackle catalytic converter theft.
Working alongside colleagues from British Transport Police, who led on the nationwide operation, officers from our Rural Engagement Team, Special Constabulary and Community Policing Teams visited scrap metal dealers across Essex with partners from local authorities.
Our officers worked with local business owners and staff to disrupt and deter criminal activity around the buying and selling or stolen metals, particularly catalytic converters.
The precious metal in catalytic converters has led to an increase in their theft, not just in Essex but across the country.
Officers gave guidance and direction on what a dealer should do if they suspect someone is trying to sell them stolen metals and the signs to look out for.
Inspector Terry Jacobs, from our Local Policing Support Unit said:
"The impact of catalytic converter theft is costly one for the victim.
"Without a converter, your vehicle will become unusable and produce too many emissions, making it illegal to drive on the road.
"As we see the value of these precious metals increase, we see reports of catalytic converter theft grow and work is ongoing to tackle this throughout Essex.
"There are already laws in place around the buying and selling of scrap metal and we are pleased to report that all the scrap metal dealers we visited last week were operating lawfully, with no issues to report.
"We will continue carry out unannounced visits on scrap metal dealers and make it clear that there is no place in Essex for handling stolen scrap metal.
"Officers will also ensure compliance around legislation requirements placed upon scrap metal dealers.
"By working with local businesses we can ensure thieves don't have anywhere to sell stolen metals and therefore reduce the appeal of this crime."
Officers from our Rural Engagement Team also spent time at Harwich Port searching vehicles and containers for evidence of any stolen metals being exported.
"Vehicle owners can also make it harder for catalytic converter thieves too" said Inspector Jacobs.
"Speak to your car dealer about advice on locks or guards approved by the vehicle manufacture.
"Alternatively, try and make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle, park in in a secure compound.
"If this isn't possible, park your vehicle so that the converter can't be easily reach by potential thieves.
"You can also register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make is harder for thieves to dispose of."