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Warning issued following series of catalytic converter thefts in Somerset

We’re asking the public to remain vigilant following a recent series of thefts from vehicles in the East Somerset area.

During the hours of 10.30pm on Sunday 23 May and 12.30am on Monday 24 May, we received seven separate reports about suspected catalytic converter thefts at addresses in Castle Cary, Sparkford, North Cadbury and Bruton.

In a small number of these incidents, the victims were subjected to threatening behaviour by the offenders after attempting to intervene.

An area tour to locate the offenders was conducted by officers on the ground with the assistance of the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

Officers are keen to identify the drivers of two silver saloon cars – a Mercedes and a BMW – seen in the area around the time the thefts took place and are working with neighbouring police forces as part of their enquiries.

Anyone with any information that could help police with their investigation is asked to call on 101 quoting crime ref no 5221113393.

Further advice

Catalytic converter theft is currently both a force-wide and a national issue, and high visibility police patrols have been stepped up in response.

Catalytic converters are attractive to thieves due to the metals inside them such as platinum, palladium or rhodium. These metals have surged in value recently, leading organised crime networks to commit more offences.

They can take less than a minute for a thief to cut and remove.

While hybrid cars –  such as older Toyota Prius and Honda Jazz models –  are particularly likely to be targeted for their catalytic converters, we’re currently receiving reports about thefts from various types of vehicles. These are occurring during daylight hours as well as overnight.

Many catalytic converters are also being sold as replacements and we are keen to hear from vehicle dismantlers and advertisers, should they be approached by sellers who don’t have the requisite documents to show ownership.

If you witness a theft in progress

DON’T

•   Approach the thieves or place yourself at risk

DO

•    Call 999

•    Obtain car registrations, and detailed descriptions of offenders, ONLY IF SAFE TO DO SO

If you discover a theft after it has happened

•     Report it to police on 101 or via our website as soon as possible.

For advice on how to protect your vehicle from thieves, visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/home-property-safety/catalytic-converter-theft

You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their Anonymous Online Form.

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.