Fleet operators warned of converter theft

Catalytic Converter Theft problems increase

A catalytic converter

A national insurance broker is warning fleet operators to protect their vehicles and take extra precautions as the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles increases.

According to latest figures, the practice, which involves removing the converter from the exhaust pipe to sell on to scrap metal dealers, has doubled from 1100 incidents to 2300 over a five-month period as the value of platinum, palladium and rhodium, from which the converters are made, increases.

Bluefin Insurance says that, not only can the cost of replacing the catalytic converter be high, but the damage caused to the vehicle can also be extensive. Businesses with fleets of trucks are particularly vulnerable because thieves can hit multiple vehicles in a single location.

“Prices for scrap metal have been on a general upward path since late 2008 which, along with the global economic recession, has revived criminal interest,” says the company. “It may only take a few seconds for the thief to remove the converter, but it can cause major disruptions to a business if several vehicles are targeted, costing a small fortune to repair, and halting operations for several days.

“Corporate fleets should take precautions to protect their vehicles, such as storing them in a locked building or yard where possible. Installing security lighting and cameras will also act as a deterrent to thieves.” Bluefin also suggests engraving the vehicle’s licence plate number on to the converter to make it traceable.

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