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Business MK Latest News | Archived News
Fleets on alert as thieves target catalytic converters
THEFTS of catalytic converters from vehicles have more than doubled this year, prompting a warning to fleet operators from a leading local insurance broker.
Businesses operating a fleet of vehicles are particularly vulnerable to the thieves, who can hit scores of vehicles in one location, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and a hefty converter replacement bill.
They have been urged to protect their vehicles by storing them in a locked building or yard and to install security cameras and lighting.
Vehicles that sit higher from the ground such as trucks, pick-ups and SUVs are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle.
According to latest figures, catalytic converter thefts have doubled from 1,100 incidents to 2,300 over the past five months as the value of platinum, palladium and rhodium from which the converters are made increases.
Insurance broker Bluefin, which has an office in Central Milton Keynes, has urged fleet operators to do what they can to foil the raiders.
A spokesman said: “Prices for scrap metal have been on a general upward path since late 2008 which, along with the global economic recession, has revived criminal interest. It may only take a few seconds for the thief to remove the converter but it can cause major disruptions to a business if several vehicles are targeted, costing a small fortune to repair and halting operations for several days.”
As well as increasing security, Bluefin advises engraving the vehicle’s licence plate number on the converter to make it traceable. This may also make thieves think twice about taking the part and help local police investigations, he added.