Reports of catalytic converter thefts have seen a drastic rise across the UK and throughout Thames Valley over the past three years.

In the past 12 months from December 2021, it has been discovered that within Thames Valley alone, 987 thefts of catalytic converters have been reported - the equivalent to 102.36 per 100,000 households.

This data was discovered in a recent Freedom of Information request showing the increasing levels of thefts reported since 2019.

These emissions devices on vehicles, used to cut down the amount of harmful gases being released in the atmosphere, often contain valuable metals and are said to be worth up to £600 on the black market.

In April last year, Thames Valley Police released a warning for drivers to be vigilant after a spate of thefts across the county.

One report took place in Hatch Ride, one in Ellis Road, one in Wiltshire Avenue - all in the north Crowthorne area between April 12 and April 13.

In a video by Thames Valley Police, it is shown how criminals can remove a catalytic converter from a car in under 60 seconds.

James Kelly, head of the British Metal Recycling Association, told Sky News: "Inside catalytic converters there are this set of platinum metals: rhodium, palladium and platinum and they are extremely valuable.

"They can be up to £4,000 a troy ounce which is equivalent to about 31 grams and that could equate to about six or seven catalytic converters."

These thefts can have disastrous and expensive consequences and, in most cases, they are not reported.

Police have released tips on how to protect your car from a catalytic converter theft.

Police tips to protect your car

  • Arrange for your car's dealership to supply and fit security brackets.
  • Ensure the car alarm always sets as you leave it unattended
  • Fit a dashcam with motion activation that will record anyone walking up close to your car.
  • Reverse into parking bays, or up against a wall or fence
  • Avoid parking in unlit areas.

PSCO Jon Morris said: "Catalytic Converters are targeted as precious metals are used to make the actual filters contained within them, so have a good second hand value or otherwise command a good scrap value.

"If you have any information about these thefts or have CCTV or Dashcam footage you are asked to contact Thames Valley Police on 101.  Should you not want to speak to a police officer or want to remain anonymous to contact the independent charity “Crimestoppers” on 0800 555 111."