Ruth Cadbury MP writes to Policing Minister over catalytic converter thefts

21 October, 2020 / by Matt Smith

The MP for Brentford & Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury, has written to the policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to urge the Government to take action over the increase in thefts of catalytic convertors locally and across the country. Such thefts are very common in Chiswick.

In her letter Ruth raised the impact that this has had on a number of local residents and asked the Government what plans it had to tackle this issue, especially after the large spike in thefts in the recent years.

In 2018, there were just over 2,000 thefts of catalytic converters from cars in England and Wales, with the numbers rising six fold in 2019.

Last year, there were almost 13,000 recorded thefts of the devices; in London alone the number of thefts increased by 455% in 2019.

What are they, and why are they being stolen?

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas.

The metals found in these converters, such as platinum, titanium and palladium are sometimes valued more highly than gold, and because the devices are on the outside of vehicles, they have become a prime target for thieves.

Thieves use pipe cutters to avoid detection and replacements can cost anything up to £850 to install, with this amount increasing significantly if further damage was done to the vehicle in the process of stealing the converter.

Images above: a catalytic converter, pipe cutters being used by criminals to remove a catalytic converter

‘Expensive and inconvenient’ to replace’

Speaking about the issue, Ruth said:

‘‘A number of local residents have contacted me after they or their neighbours had catalytic converters stolen. I know how rightly angry many residents are about this, especially because of the high cost and inconvenience of getting them replaced.

I’ve raised this issue with Hounslow councillors and with the policing team in West London. However it’s clear that we need to see action from the Home Office and Government Ministers to tackle the surge in thefts we’ve seen.

That’s why I’ve written to the Policing Minister and have urged the Government to act to tackle this spike in thefts.’’

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