Drivers are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of catalytic converter thefts across the county.
Since the beginning of December, Wiltshire Police have had 18 reports of thefts at multiple locations including Swindon, Malmesbury, Calne, Melksham, Devizes and the Salisbury area including Landford, Old Sarum, Empire Road and Stratford Sub Castle.
PC Michelle Barratt said, “We are conducting enquiries in relation to these incidents and while we know this type of theft is difficult to prevent, there are some steps that can be taken to help reduce your risk of falling victim to this criminal activity such as:
• 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 parking in a public car park, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your 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
• If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath
• 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 also etch a serial number on the converter
• 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.“
“If you do see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations as this significantly helps our enquiries.”