Firms in Suffolk have welcomed a Police scheme to help combat the increased number of catalytic converter thefts in the county. A marking session will be held in Sudbury this weekend and the Police are expecting a huge number of commercial vans to attend the free service.
More than fifty converters have been stolen across the county since the start of the year and all but three were from vans, with more than half involving Mercedes Sprinter vans. These figures have prompted police to organise a free etching event at the Red Star Garage on the Woodhall Business Park. The “protect your van day” will run from 9am to 4pm and officers will be on hand to offer crime reduction advice. Alongside the marking sessions, registered scrap metal dealers will be informed of the marks and invited to alert police if any stolen catalytic converters are offered to them.
Police are advising drivers to park commercial vans in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if possible. The converter itself can be easily secured with a clamp and an anti-tamper alarm which is available from a number of local garages or via the Internet. A number of fleet managers are also deciding to keep all commercial vehicles in a locked compound with an alarm, strong lighting and CCTV cameras, rather than having the driver take the van home for the night. This also reduces the chances of the company having to make a claim on their commercial vehicle insurance policy.
Crime reduction officer Verity Lines said: “The idea of the day is to raise awareness of catalytic converter thefts and it will also offer the opportunity for businesses and members of the public to come along to get advice and see what anti-theft devices are available. We’re really grateful to the garages involved for helping out with this. We understand that having the kits in garages means it’s easier for more people to access the service.”