What’s precious about your cat?
- More than half the world’s production of palladium and its metal cousin platinum goes into making catalytic converters
- Catalytic converters convert up to 90% of harmful exhaust gases (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide) into less harmful nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water.
- Palladium is also used in fuel cell technology to combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water
- Palladium is also used in jewellery, dentistry and medicine
DON’T lose your cat this Christmas! That’s the call to commercial vehicle users and fleet operators, being urged to tighten security after a surge in catalytic converter thefts from vans.
More than 50 vehicles were targeted recently in night raids on industrial estates in Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and South Wales.
And the crimewave could spike with commercial vehicles parked up for a couple of days over the festivities.
Vehicles particularly at risk are vans, pick ups and minibuses with high ground clearance making it easy for the thieves to get underneath.
UK manufacturer of catalytic converter protection systems Catloc, which is warning van users to take extra precautions, says repair bills of at least £2,000, sometimes as much as £10,000, are just the start as the vehicle is immobilised.
There is further expense hiring replacement vehicles while replacement parts are ordered and fitted, penalties for missed deliveries and the prospect of losing business contracts altogether, not to mention the time taken dealing with police, insurers and the repairs.
Historically, thieves targeted catalytic converters for metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium – all members of the platinum group metals – which could be sold to scrap metal dealers for between £50 and £400. In response to this issue of stolen metals, also including roofing lead, which was costing the UK economy £770 million annually according to police estimates, the Government introduced The Scrap Metal Dealers Act in October 2013 that included a ban on cash payments.
Since then, police forces have seen a decline in theft but Catloc believes this latest spike is due to thieves stealing the components for re-sale overseas as second hand units or for scrap value in countries where cash is still used.
Paul Chase, managing director of On Board Defence which owns the Catloc brand, said: “Legislation has certainly helped to tackle the problem of precious metal theft but the police have now identified a growing problem of direct export, where thieves are stealing these parts for re-sale on the international black market.”
Protecting around 40,000 vehicles per year with its anti-theft system for catalytic converters and Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF), approved by a number of vehicle manufacturers, Catloc is urging operators to minimise the risk of theft by implementing improved security measures.
Chase added: “Wherever possible, vans should be parked so that it’s difficult or impossible for thieves to get underneath and ideally in well-lit areas. Of course, the ultimate deterrent is protecting the catalytic converter with an approved anti-theft device such as Catloc.”
Based in Banbury, On Board Defence designs and develops innovative security products predominantly for the aftermarket automotive sector. Catloc is recommended by vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Renault and Volkswagen and is specified for van fitment by a number of fleets including BT, PHS and Balfour Beatty.