Drivers warned of car theft rise with catalytic converters targeted – 'millions at risk'


Car tracking firm Tracker revealed in a recent study that as the months get colder and darker, stolen vehicle rates get higher. According to police data, overall, January is the worst month for vehicle crime, with a shocking 41,029 reported in the first month of 2019. 

December and January are the peak months for car crime as this is generally when the country experiences harsh frost mornings.

In these situations, drivers can sometimes leave their cars unattended whilst de-icing their car, which presents itself as a prime opportunity for criminal gangs.

At this time of the year, more drivers will be having time off work and may not use their car as often, also leaving at risk for a thief.

In recent months, the British Transport Police announced a 57 percent drop in catalytic converter thefts as people took the advice of experts to ensure they protect their vehicles.

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Phil Cleary, CEO and co-founder of SmartWater Group, spoke about the general rollout of the new technology to garages and how it benefits drivers.

Speaking to, he said: “There’s millions of vehicles out there still at risk.

“There’s different types of crime, not just catalytic converter thefts because metal is so valuable.

“We need to keep light on our feet and more broadly roll it out. Toyota funded [the trial scheme] so it doesn’t cost the public purse anything.

“We are providing free forensic analysis to the police and expert testimony in court and free access to the database.”

When going in for an MOT or a simple servicing, garages can offer customers the chance to have the solution applied to their catalytic converter.

With the vehicle on the ramp, a special SmartWater high temperature product is applied with a brush and the unique formula reference number is logged on the database against the vehicle registration number.

Mr Cleary continued, saying: “We want to broaden the opportunity to other motorists so they can get their catalytic converters registered on the database.

“We’re going to be starting up a campaign for MOT stations and autocentres to offer up the opportunity to sign up.

“Let’s say they’re getting their tyres repaired or an MOT done, they can say ‘do you want to have your catalytic converter registered on the database?’.

“It will cost you a couple of pounds and you get labels to put on your vehicle to say it’s been registered.

“The criminals know what the SmartWater logo is, and they’ll stay away from it.”

Rachael Oakley, Director of the Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection (CIAP), also said SmartWater was currently focussing on catalytic converters, but other at-risk components such as “batteries, caravans, motorbikes and trailers can also benefit”.


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