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Staffordshire Police is reminding motorists how to ensure their vehicles are secure to help them avoid becoming the victim of catalytic converter thefts, after an increase in incidents across the county recently.
The Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, Tamworth, Cannock and South Staffordshire are areas of specific concern that have seen higher instances of this type of crime.
Business compounds have also recently been targeted as well as the usual residential and retail car park incidents, including one in Stoke-on-Trent that saw 25 taken in one incident.
Targeted patrols are being completed in hotspot areas to capture and deter any offenders.
Chief Inspector David Wain, Staffordshire Police’s senior investigating officer for this type of crime, said: “It’s important for members of the public to stay alert. We need people’s help to tackle this issue so we ask that they look out for this type of activity and record descriptions – noting down anything that could be useful to us. Try to obtain any key information such as registration numbers of vehicles carrying offenders and makes and models in case the plates have been changed.
“We would urge anybody who witnesses an incident taking place to call 999 immediately. Often offenders will raise a targeted vehicle on a jack to get to the catalytic convertor. We would like to remind people that the tools they carry for such offences are dangerous to others so we would encourage people not to approach them and to call 999 if the crime is in progress.
“If the offenders have already left please use the Staffordshire Police Facebook or Twitter pages to report incidents."
Advice has also been issued to try and help people protect their vehicles. This includes parking in highly visible, well-lit areas. Off-road parking areas or secure compounds with strong perimeter fencing, warning signs and security lighting should be used wherever possible.
A monitored surveillance system can also be an effective deterrent and crime prevention of this kind can save on costly repair bills and minimise disruption to businesses.
When you get your vehicle serviced speak to your garage about marking a converter with a unique reference number that will help police identify the owner should it be stolen.
For further security advice please visit our website and to report a crime or suspicious behaviour, please send a direct message to Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter. You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.