POLICE are visiting scrap merchants after thieves made off with £10,000 worth of catalytic convertors.
The rise is believed to be due to the current market for scrap metal and particularly platinum and palladium which are found in converters, which can then be sold on to scrap yards or dealers.
Officers in Sheffield say eight vans – which thieves are able to crawl under – have been attacked across the city since the New Year.
Det Sgt Wayne Price, of South Yorkshire Police, said they were looking to see if the incidents are linked. “We want van owners to be aware so that they can step up security by fitting locks, alarms or cages to their catalytic converters.
“The incidents so far this year have no doubt cost the owners lost business, money, damage, inconvenience and may be higher insurance premiums.”
The latest incidents have seen catalytic converters, which forms part of the vehicle’s exhaust system, stolen from three Mercedes Sprinter vehicles.
Thieves struck at a compound at Upwell Street, Grimesthorpe, in the early hours of Wednesday February 5; at Dykes Hall Road, Hillsborough, overnight from last Tuesday to Wednesday; and at a yard on Queens Road overnight from last Friday to Saturday.
Data from 40 UK police forces showed thefts of the convertors have more than doubled between 2010 and 2012.
Some parts of the country saw a significant rise – including South Yorkshire where thefts increased more than tenfold.
Det Sgt Price said: “We are making enquiries to see if the incidents are linked and will also be visiting scrap merchants across the area.”
Any witnesses or anyone with information should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101.