Warn­ing as cars are har­vested for valu­able parts

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - VICKY MUNRO vicky.munro@reach­plc.com Twit­ter: @Vick­y_aFm

CAR own­ers in Eal­ing and Hilling­don are warned that thieves are tar­get­ing vans, SUVs and older mod­els like the Honda Jazz and CR-V and steal­ing a vi­tal and valu­able part.

Cat­alytic con­vert­ers (CATs), which clean gases from the en­gine be­fore they leave the ex­haust pipe, are be­ing stolen from parked cars be­cause they con­tain valu­able met­als such as plat­inum, pal­la­dium or rhodium.

The thieves de­lib­er­ately choose cer­tain mod­els where the CAT is eas­ier to ac­cess, whereas in newer cars it is of­ten closer to the en­gine. The thefts seem to be con­cen­trated in Han­well and Hayes, par­tic­u­larly in the Hayes Lidl car park. Eal­ing Neigh­bour­hood Watch com­mu­nity co­or­di­na­tor Suzanne Tan­swell said: “In my opin­ion, th­ese are op­por­tunis­tic crimes that have picked up mo­men­tum re­cently, although it seems to have first started hap­pen­ing 10 or 12 years ago. “The thieves are af­ter the pre­cious met­als within the CATs, which could be sold as scrap and be melted down and ex­tracted. “When steal­ing a CAT the muf­fler is dis­con­nected so if it hap­pens to you your ve­hi­cle will sound very loud. In this case, the ve­hi­cle should not be driven and in­stead should be towed to a garage. I have con­tacted sev­eral garages across Eal­ing. The area of con­cen­trated ac­tiv­i­ties seems to be Hayes and Han­well with emphasis on a Lidl car park in Hayes as a hotspot.”

In one week, six Honda Jazz cars are re­ported to have had their CATs stolen.

She added that car own­ers could con­sider in­stalling CCTV de­vices as a de­ter­rent or fit an­titheft sys­tems, locks or mo­tion alarms to their car and that any­one who spots any­thing un­usual should call 999. Eal­ing res­i­dents can email Ms Tan­swell at Eal­ingOWL@hot­mail.com to re­ceive reg­u­lar up­dates about crime in the bor­ough.

The Honda Jazz is one of the mod­els of car be­ing tar­geted

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