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Fleets targeted by catalytic converter thieves

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Police forces across Britain are warning about the high number of catalytic converter thefts, which is causing considerable cost to UK businesses.

The current trend for rising metal prices is increasing the instances of this theft and with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium included catalytic converters are a valuable component.

However, the value of detachable devices from vehicles doesn’t stop there. Thieves are also removing tyres and aluminium door panels.

For companies relying on vehicles for the day-to-day running of their business, crimes of this kind can be expensive to deal with and cause disruption.

The cost of vehicles being off the road hits balance sheets and repairs can often be more costly due to thieves’ hastily removing parts and causing more damage.

Sarah Mallaby, head of motor claims at Allianz Insurance, said: “We know that criminals are targeting fleets of vehicles to capitalise on the value of catalytic converters and the increasingly valuable metals they contain.

"Businesses need to consider how secure their premises are to avoid becoming a victim of this crime and facing thousands of pounds worth of damage, as well as the difficulties of operating on a reduced number of vehicles.”

Allianz Insurance offers the following advice to businesses:

  • Whether you’re parking vehicles in a garage, car park, or on the street, try to leave them in well-lit areas.
  • Consider investing in security lights to react to any movement and ensure these are tested regularly.
  • CCTV can act as a deterrent and is most effective when monitored off site. For further security, businesses could look to implement perimeter security.
  • Mark expensive removable items such as catalytic converters and spare tyres with security etchings to deter criminals.
  • Fleet managers could consider removing catalytic converters where possible, or invest in catalytic converter protectors.
  • Store valuable goods in alarmed and locked buildings, and know where the keys are at all times.
  • Think smartly about parking, positioning the most expensive vehicles surrounded by those that are a lower risk.

Companies could also consider protecting their vehicles with a device such as CatClamp (pictured). Find out more here.

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  • Kevin Heater - 09/05/2014 10:54

    Some great advice in this article. CatClamp is the only Secured by Design approved catalytic converter lock in the UK, making it a Police Preferred product to secure against this mindless theft.

  • Andy Titterton - 09/05/2014 12:16

    '•Fleet managers could consider removing catalytic converters where possible, or invest in catalytic converter protectors'.........!!! I can't believe someone has suggested this. Do they even drive? A catalyst is required on post 1992 vehicles. Some will say that if the car meets emissions, a cat is not necessary, but a vehicle will not pass the MOT without one. A spot check by VOSA may find the vehicle is technically not fit for purpose....... Good suggestion! How about leaving the spare wheel in the office to save weight!

    • Kevin Heater - 09/05/2014 12:25

      @Andy Titterton - I agree that portion was not the best advice and totally impractical. I am happy to speak with you about any issues you are having.

  • Mark - 09/05/2014 13:41

    In other words, we cant offer you any comfort that something will be done about this so we will think of whatever springs to mind in the vain hope that it looks like we know what we are talking about

    • Kevin Heater - 09/05/2014 14:02

      @Mark - We are trying to work with as many forces in the UK we can. It is very frustrating when you have a product that meets Police preferred specifications and they do not even offer it as a product to help stop these thefts. We welcome the opportunity to work with all Police forces both with our CatClamp and SmartWater products we offer as security.

  • James Mackay - 09/05/2014 14:50

    I think that it's worth pointing out that many Fleet Managers will have sufficient site security in place already, which has has proved ineffective. By far the best method is to use a locking device to secure the Cat to the vehicle. Catloc is utilised by fleets across Europe as a cost effective method to mitigate the chances of this type of theft.

    • Kevin Heater - 09/05/2014 15:13

      @James Mackay - Hey James. I thought I would see you pop up here; thanks for your comments. I agree, the most effective deterrent is a locking device.

  • Sarah - 10/05/2014 06:34

    This isn't exactly new news. They've been nicking cat's for years. I heard of a garage in North Yorkshire who lost 11 in one night from vehicles on the forecourt! Now that was expensive! I am more surprised at door panels being taken. How to prevent that, you can't exactly clamp them!

  • John Burton - 10/05/2014 09:46

    I think it's worth pointing out that the Catclamp device mentioned is only actually approved by SBD for 2 vehicles - Vauxhall Movano & Toyota Hilux. Neither of these manufacturers approve the Catclamp product and what's more it costs over £400 after factoring in VAT and fitting. Both of these points put me off from purchasing it for my fleet of Peugeot vans after we were hit earlier this year.

    • Jeff Lester - 10/05/2014 10:50

      @John Burton - Both valid points, but I think you have missed the focus of Catclamp - it is the only device with approval. It also includes Smart Water to mark the converter and adds extra deterrent.

    • Kevin Heater - 10/05/2014 12:32

      @John Burton - hi John. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your point about initial cost, but did you actually call to discuss discounting for bulk purchase? What was the cost to your business with the thefts? Costs like loss of vehicle use, cost to hire replacement vehicles, insurance excess, risk if rise in premium, missed work for the day or days after, penalties for timed deliveries or contractual work you may do...

  • Andy Titterton - 10/05/2014 11:46

    Do you think that repliers with a financial or commercial interest should be charged a small fee each time they contribute, perhaps to a charity? Too often the comments are posted that are purely and simply a free advert and are not constructive to the article.

    • Kevin Heater - 10/05/2014 12:37

      @Andy Titterton - thanks for your comments. I am active in this discussion because my product was recommended in the article. I am here to help reduce this crime. Can you suggest how my participation can be more constructive for you? I am happy to offer advice, statistics and any help even if my product is not the most suitable solution for you. Many thanks.

  • Mark - 12/05/2014 08:55

    Controversial, I like it

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