Thefts of catalytic converters from cars have soared in London this year, with police forces around the country also issuing warnings to drivers as rising metal prices encourage thieves.
Figures from the Metropolitan Police show there were 2,900 catalytic converter thefts reported in the first half of this year, against only 1,674 in the whole of 2018.
The number of such thefts has risen sharply since 2017, when only 173 cases were recorded in London.
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “There has been an increase in the number of catalytic convertors thefts from vehicles. It is the precious metal contained within the convertors, and its increasing value as scrap metal, which makes them appealing to thieves.”
Catalytic converters contain precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium in addition to metals sold for scrap. The MRW price of scrap platinum in March was £14.70/g and in September is £17.70/g.
Warnings have also been issued to motorists this month by other forces, inclduing Nottinghamshire Police, after daytime thefts in Eastwood; Cleveland Police, after a spate of thefts in its area; and by Hampshire Police, following three cases in Winchester.
Motorists have been advised to park cars in a locked garage or, if that is not possible, in a well-lit and well-populated area, and to have bolts welded shut in the case of bolted-on catalytic converters.