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Catalytic converter theft: drivers warn to protect their cars as the value of precious metal rhodium skyrockets | UK News

Drivers are warned to protect their vehicles after an increase in catalytic converter theft.

The device helps reduce harmful emissions, but an increase in the value of the precious metals they contain has made them more attractive to thieves.

Gangs can often lift a parked car and pull them out within minutes.

One of the metals, rhodium, has tripled in value since March 2020 and is much more expensive than gold.

It is used to reduce nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases – often alongside palladium or platinum.

Rhodium is very tarnish resistant and highly reflective, and can be used as a protective finish for jewelry, but a typical converter contains only a few grams.

Insurer Ageas said crime accounted for 30% of private vehicle theft claims in the first quarter of 2021, up from 20% in the last quarter of 2019.

A new catalytic converter can cost up to £ 1,000 and sometimes means older cars need to be written off.

Drivers often don’t realize they’ve been a victim until they hear loud noises coming from the exhaust.

London is the hotspot and nearly 15,000 aircraft thefts were reported there last year, up from around 9,500 in 2019.

A man said earlier this year that he had been threatened with a gun when he encountered thieves trying to steal the device from his car.

Also radio presenter Nicky Campbell tweeted a doorbell camera video of an apparent theft attempt last year.

And in March, 300 police raided a criminal ring suspected of fueling an increase in catalytic converter crime in London.

Detectives say the devices are often sent overseas for the precious metals to be removed and refined.

RAC spokesperson Simon Williams said: “When you are away from home, look for parking lots that have security patrols and are covered by CCTV.”

Police also advise parking so the converter is not easily accessible and say vehicles above the road are particularly vulnerable.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-26 14:15:00