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Herts police launch Operation Feline to tackle catalytic converter crime

Police are battling back following a wave of thefts of catalytic converters from cars.

The past year has brought a big increase in thefts because the parts contain precious metals which fetch a high price.

Thieves target specific hybrid models such as the pre-2008 Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius (2004-2016) and Toyota Arius (2012-2018) – sometimes in car parks and at the roadside in broad daylight.

In Bishop's Stortford last Monday (Oct 5), a catalytic converter was stolen from a Prius parked in Charringons House car park off Old River Lane during the day.

On September 17, four masked youths stole the converters from two vehicles on the Birchanger industrial estate, off Stansted Road. They were filmed on CCTV getting out of an Audi A4 at 11.30pm and removing the parts from a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and a Toyota Auris.

Police have launched Operation Feline to raise awareness among drivers and provide practical crime prevention advice to help deter thieves.

Insp Nicki Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s crime reduction unit, said: "We've teamed up with garages around the county to offer free catalytic converter security marking.

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

In Stortford, Steven Eagell Toyota in Dunmow Road and Kwik Fit in South Street are providing free security marking for catalytic converters. Further details of the scheme can be found at www.herts.police.uk/operationfeline.

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