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Catalytic converters are being stolen from cars across Kent, including Dartford, Medway, Swale and Maidstone

By Luke May

Brazen thieves are stealing vital parts from cars and selling them on for a high price.

Since the start of 2019 at least 29 catalytic converters have been stripped from cars across the county.

The thefts have mostly affected motorists in the north and west of the county.

Police are investigating
Police are investigating

Offences have taken place in Dartford, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway and Swale.

Catalytic converters used to be a popular target for thieves because of the scrap metal value.

In recent years new models have been made with less precious models, but older cars are still being targeted.

Sgt Dan Horsley of the north division Community Safety Unit said: "Changes made by manufactures to deter thieves are reflected in the vehicles we see being targeted today.

"In more than half the offences Toyota Prius vehicles, made between 2006 and 2007, have been targeted. Victims have also reported a number of thefts from Honda models from 2000 and 2005."

On March 26 two men were arrested in connection with the theft and handling of stolen catalytic convertors, after a suspicious car was stopped by officers in Main Road, Longfield.

"Changes made by manufactures to deter thieves are reflected in the vehicles we see being targeted today" - Sgt Dan Horsley

Items including a number of catalytic convertors and cutting tools were seized from the vehicle. An investigation is ongoing.

Sgt Horsley added: "We are continuing to work hard to deter and reduce the number of these crimes.

"This includes working closely with scrap metal dealers, to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal and also identify any dealers who operate illegally.

"We are also asking residents to play their part, by remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious behaviour."

To reduce the risk of theft, owners are advised try and keep vehicles in a garage whenever possible, or park in busy, well-lit areas.

Drivers can also security mark and register the metal shell of the converter so if stolen and recovered, it will be easier to trace.

Mark or etch it with the vehicle registration number, or serial number, and consider fitting a catalytic converter clamp or security cage to protect it.

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