CATALYTIC converters are the latest items being targeted by scrap metal thieves operating across South Yorkshire, police have revealed.
There have been a spate of thefts, with vehicles with a large clearance underneath being targeted.
The converters help cut exhaust emissions and police say the high value of scrap has led to a ‘noticeable increase in thefts’ – with the devices cut from the exhaust pipe and weighed in at scrap yards.
Acting Detective Sergeant Jamie Henderson, in charge of the South Yorkshire Police metal theft team in Rotherham, said: “If someone drives without a catalytic convertor, they’ll hear an excessively-loud revving like a racing car.
“It can also be dangerous as fumes may start to come into the vehicle. A trained technician takes several hours to properly remove a CAT. However, we are aware of thieves that take seconds to rip them from vehicles leaving them in dangerous conditions and costing upwards of £1,000 to repair.”
It is thought thieves can get between £50 and £250 for catalytic converters, depending on their size.
So far this year, there have been 17 thefts reported in Rotherham – the same as the whole of 2011.
Police are urging motorists to park vehicles in garages or well-lit busy streets.
Officers also want motorists to mark the outside shell of their converters to make them easier to identify should they be stolen.
Anyone with information about those responsible should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.