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Thieves steal catalytic convertors from Bishop's Stortford car parks in broad daylight

Police are urging people to be vigilant after cars in Bishop’s Stortford car parks had their catalytic converters stolen by thieves in broad daylight.

The owners of a Toyota Prius had parked in Waitrose, Northgate End, on Sunday January 12 between 10.30am and 11.30am. On leaving, the car made a loud noise. When called, the AA told the owners the catalytic converter had been stolen.

Another Prius driver, parked in the neighbouring Causeway car park from 9.20am to 1pm on the same day, discovered the cat-con had been stolen.

A police spokesman said: “Stealing these units is not easy, offenders need to get under or jack up a vehicle and would need to use noisy power tools.

“We urge the public to remain vigilant and report incidents of suspected catalytic converter theft, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.”

To minimise the chance of becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft, police offer the following advice:

  • Lock your car in a garage when parked at night.
  • When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust closest to them to make theft difficult.
  • Fit CCTV on your home or driveway to deter thieves.
  • Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible; this can also act as a deterrent.
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, have the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
  • Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota-manufactured CATLOC devices (these are made for Toyota Prius models made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
  • Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked, and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
  • Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security.
  • Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don't want to alert you to their approach.

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