Police warning as thieves target these car makes and models in Leeds to steal valuable catalytic converters
Police have issued a warning to drivers after a spate of catalytic converter thefts in North East Leeds.
The catalytic converter is fitted to the exhaust system of a car or van and filters harmful particles.
They are made with rare precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium.
The amount of rhodium used in a car weighs about the same as one quarter of a postage stamp, but still adds £70 to the price of the car, according to hit BBC show QI.
Police have issued this warning after a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Leeds.
A spokesman for the force said: "Did you know a thief can take the catalytic converter from your car in a matter of minutes and leave you to foot the bill?
"Precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters. The price of some of these metals has risen sharply in recent years and as a result has led to an increase in the theft of catalytic convertors.
"Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves.
"Hybrid cars, Vans and SUVs are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier.
"The Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz and the Honda CR-V are often targeted in West Yorkshire."
What you should do to avoid catalytic converter thefts
To reduce the risk of having your catalytic converter stolen, you should:
Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn’t an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area
Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult
Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter
If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath
If parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing you bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it
For thefts occurring on driveways, consider the use of a Secured by Design (SBD) approved driveway alarm and sensor. This may assist in alerting you of a potential intruder entering your driveway or garden
If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
Alternatively, you can mark your catalytic converter. Please ensure any property marking is Secured by Design (SBD) approved
You can even purchase a ‘cage clamp’ which is a cage device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota are offering a 'Catloc' for the Prius (3rd generation, 2009-2011 models) and Auris (2nd generation, 2012-2018 models). Please contact your Toyota dealership for more information
Speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham approved alarm and tilt sensor that will activate the alarm should any thief try to jack the vehicle up to steal the converter
If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.