With metal prices soaring, thieves are finding any way they can to get themselves a Christmas bonus. Catalytic converters are an ever growing target of these thieves as they contain precious metals, which are often bought by scrap metal dealers at over £20 per gram! Between 2010 and mid-2013, almost 25,000 thefts of this kind were reported to police forces across the UK.
Thieves generally target larger vehicles which allow enough ground clearance for the thief to simply crawl under the vehicle in order to steal the converter, and these vehicles become even more of a target when they are stored as part of a fleet. There are several reports of thieves managing to steal up to 20 converters in under an hour, and they will then be sold for just £200 a part.
Aside from the actual vehicle repairs itself, there are many other risks for a business owner to consider. Mainly, the disruption to normal trading, often overlooked by businesses, this is actually the biggest risk in relation to these kinds of thefts. Whether the vehicle is used for deliveries or simply transport, driving without a catalytic converter can often deem the vehicle un-roadworthy as exhaust fumes will now contain harmful emissions, which the catalytic converter would remove. This may mean that you could have an entire fleet off of the road for several days or even weeks, as damage to the vehicle is repaired and new parts are ordered and fitted.
One of our own clients suffered exactly this type of loss earlier this year so we are in a great position to advise you in this area, having successfully negotiated full settlement of the claim very quickly with the insurer concerned.
3 ways to protect your vehicles:
– Catalytic converters can be marked with a unique serial number using acid
– Converters are generally bolted on, however they can be welded, making them much harder to steal
– Physical security, such as high fences, locked gates and CCTV will all help to deter thieves.