Aggressive thieves steal exhaust parts from cars in Sleaford

Police have issued a warning offering security advice after a spate of catalytic converter thefts from householders’ drives around Sleaford over the weekend where the thieves were aggressive when challenged.

Police appeal

One resident alerted people on social media on Sunday saying: “Just had two men come onto our property, jack the car up on our drive and steal the catalytic converter.

“Second one in Sleaford tonight so the police tell us. Both Toyotas.

“We were threatened, told to stay in the house, not that politely.”

She appealed to anyone with CCTV on Stokes Drive or Covel Road that might have caught a dark hatchback coming onto the estate, to share it with police.

Another resident said: “My car was also targeted last night as well on North parade. The catalytic converter was stolen and the men that did this threatened a neighbour when challenged. Please be careful.”

But a third resident has since reported a theft from her daughter’s car, saying: “My daughter’s motability car had its catalytic converter stolen off it Saturday night, I think about 9pm. I only realised today when she went to go out today with her carers.

“I’d really like the thieves to come back as I’ll be waiting to give them my gratitude. I’m not scared of them at all and I will go outside. They needn’t bother to threaten me. I’ve had to fight for my daughter for 24 years and I’m feeling very frustrated. I think they are utter scum.”

Lincolnshire Police say they received further reports of thefts from Stamford and Market Deeping on Thursday night.

They said the next one took place in North Parade in Sleaford at around 9.30pm on Saturday. Four men wearing ski masks targeted a Toyota Auris, and were challenged by a passer-by.

A spokesman added: “We received a further call at around 9.40pm that two men were seen around another Toyota Auris in Covel Road, Sleaford, and that they had made threats to the occupants of the house. The two men were reported to have left in a black hatchback style vehicle heading towards Stokes Drive which leads to Lincoln Road.

“This type of incident is low in those areas. We have made catalytic convert thefts our community safety message of the week and we are conducting enquiries to identify the people responsible.

“If anyone was in the area at the time of any of the offences, or has CCTV, dashcam, or doorbell footage which might help our enquiries, please get in touch with police via 101.”

A catalytic converter is the part of a car that turns pollutants being emitted from the exhaust into less harmful gases.

While they do not appear to be that useful to thieves, they are made from precious metals that can be sold on the black market, explain Sleaford Police.

They are also fairly easy for criminals to steal.

Follow these tips to avoid falling victim to catalytic converter theft:

• Park your vehicle in a way that prevents access to the underneath – Parking next to walls or fences can help but be mindful of pedestrian access.

• Mark your property – some garages will etch a unique number onto your catalytic converter making it easy to identify if its stolen – reputable scrap yards will know to look out for these signs if anyone is trying to cash one in.

• CCTV – if you park your vehicle on your driveway, consider installing CCTV or a doorbell camera. Not only does this capture and record images, but it is also a good deterrent to thieves attempting to steal your catalytic converter in the first place.

• If you have a garage – use it.

• Park in well-lit areas – Thieves are often opportunists and do not like the thought of being seen. If you have to park your vehicle on the street, try and park it in a well-lit area that is visible to passing traffic, pedestrians and houses.

• Alarms -make sure your vehicle has an alarm. There are Thatcham approved alarm specifically manufactured for catalytic converters available on the market.

• Consider a clamp or cage to cover your catalytic converter

• Layer your security – try not to just introduce one aspect of security to your catalytic converter but consider using several different products and methods to maximise your vehicles security.