Thefts of catalytic converters have increased tenfold from the beginning of the year, according to new insurance data.
Data compiled by AA insurance services found that in January 2019, eight vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen compared to 79 which were stolen during October.
Some drivers were severely unlucky and had their catalytic converters stolen twice which required them to make two separate insurance claims.
Despite catalytic converter thefts making up a small proportion of insurance claims as a whole, the number of instances has been on the increase since January 2018.
March 2018, for instance, saw three catalytic converters stolen whereas a year later in 2019, this had increased to 10. April was another month with a significant increase from two thefts in 2018 to 19 in 2019.
Janet Connor, managing director for AA insurance services says; “A tenfold increase in claims for catalytic converters due to theft is a shocking revelation.
“Criminals are being bold and brash by stealing converters in broad daylight, as they believe passers-by won’t question someone tinkering underneath a car.
“Where possible, drivers should park in a garage or in a well-lit area. Manufacturers have also developed anti-theft devices which can be attached to the fixings and give the converter a unique serial number. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for further information.
“Scrap dealers and online auction sites have a role to play too, by making appropriate checks to ensure the parts being sold or scrapped have not been illegally gained.”
Catalytic converters are removed from vehicles because they contain precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum. As a result, they are often sold for strong scrap values or traded privately.