Warning as cars are harvested for valuable parts
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