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The Tamworth Neighbourhood Policing Team is urging motorists to ensure their vehicles are secure and avoid becoming the victim of catalytic converter thefts after a spate of incidents.
With five confirmed incidents in the past week alone, officers want to remind people to “look out for this type of activity and record descriptions – noting down anything that could be useful to us”.
They will be carrying out high visibility patrols in these hotspot areas to try and deter any further offences.
The first incident was believed to have occurred at about 6pm on Thursday (4 February) when a catalytic convertor was removed from a Toyota Auris parked on Vetura Park Road some time between 5pm and 6pm.
And on Friday (5 February) a resident of Lichfield Street informed us that the catalytic converters had been cut off their Honda Civic as well as a neighbour’s. It is believed the incident happened on either January 24 or 25 but the victim had not used their car since.
We later that day received a call from another resident of Lichfield Street who believed the catalytic converter on their Honda Civic had been cut off at some time on January 26.
On Sunday (7 February), a staff member of Marks & Spencer’s on Ventura Retail Park, Ventura Park Road, called at about 2.20pm stating customers had returned to their vehicle after shopping to find a group of men around their Toyota Auris who had jacked the car up and were in the middle of stealing the catalytic converter.
Witnesses state they saw the men leave in a dark coloured Vauxhall Astra. There were said to be three or four males present, all with hoods up, and one had a surgical mask on while another wore a black mask.
And on Monday (8 February) we had a call from a property on Lichfield Street saying they had just witnessed a car be lifted up and the catalytic converter taken.
This happened at about 5.20pm and this time, two men wearing jeans and dark tops were witnessed arriving in a grey Citroen C4. They then left the scene in their vehicle in the direction of the Co-op.
Officers are now urging people to stay vigilant. Many of these crimes take place in broad daylight and in full view of members of the public.
Thieves target catalytic converters as they contain small amounts of precious metals which increases their value - the price of these metals has increased in recent years.
PCSO Phillip Trow from the Tamworth Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “It’s important for members of the public to stay alert. We need people’s help in tackling this issue so we ask if they can look out for this type of activity and record descriptions – noting down anything that could be useful to us. If it’s safe to do so, recording the incident on your phone is also extremely helpful.”
And tips have been issued to try and help people protect their vehicles. These include parking them 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.
Marking a converter with a unique reference will help police identify the owner should it be stolen, so always make sure that property is marked.
For further security advice please visit our website and to report a crime or suspicious behaviour, or provide any information on the above incidents, 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.