Van drivers and other commercial vehicle owners are being urged to increase their vehicle security this week after thieves struck several times in a Shropshire town.
Thieves in Oswestry are targeting delivery vans and specifically their catalytic converter systems. They are removing the entire exhaust systems from vans and then taking the stolen goods to scrap merchants. The converters only hold tiny amounts of precious metals in their construction but it is enough to make stealing the van parts a lucrative business. Many van drivers across the UK have had to claim on their commercial vehicle insurance after similar crimes and this week Darren Sutton joined the unhappy club.
Thieves stripped the catalytic converter from Darren’s Mercedes van last weekend and he has been told it could cost him £3000 to make good the damage. He said: “The van was parked outside the house yet I heard nothing. I didn’t realise anything was amiss until I got in it to drive on Sunday lunchtime. It was making a horrendous noise so I took it to mechanics in Oswestry. They told me I had lost the entire system. Apparently thieves are able to sell the metals within the converter for cash. I have been told it will cost about £3,000 to replace and I have also lost two days worth of work, I want to warn other van owners or drivers to be extra vigilant as there are thieves about.”
It is a problem all van owners should take seriously because scrap metal thieves regularly target van owners. It is because vehicles such as a Ford Transit or Merecedes Sprinter, in common with many other vans, have a greater depth between the road surface and the floor of the van making it easier for the thieves to detach the exhaust system and get away.