Drivers across the country are taking measures to protect their vehicles from a spate of catalytic converter theft that is being recorded in Britain.

Late last year, the AA reported a spike in criminals targeting the devices, which act to prevent harmful gases from being expelled into the atmosphere.

Now, the figures are looking even worse, with police saying some locations were preyed upon nearly 3,000 times during the whole of 2019.

An easy target – and a costly crime

Catalytic converters contain materials including palladium, rhodium and platinum that are lucrative when sold for scrap – and their being attached to cars that may be left unattended for long periods makes them an easy target for the unscrupulous.

Not only can this cause damage to the vehicle during the theft, but it may also leave owners at risk of fines because their car is no longer legal to drive and they might not even know it.

“Any motorist who has their vehicle’s catalytic converter stolen faces a repair bill running into thousands of pounds,” agreed the RAC‘s Simon Williams.

Drivers are fighting back, though, with many garages now reporting that owners are opting to have catalytic converter cages fitted to their vehicles in order to prevent such easy access by thieves.

The metal grille-like devices cost around £200 and take approximately two hours to fit, but many may see this as a small price to pay for greater peace of mind.

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “We can’t blame drivers for wanting to stop this crime from happening to them. However, perhaps it’s time for manufacturers to step up and issue protective cages as standard for new vehicles in order to act as a deterrent to this rapidly-growing trend.”

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