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Police warn Chesterfield motorists after thieves target exhausts in car parks

Police are reminding motorists to be vigilant and are appealing for information after a series of catalytic converter thefts from cars in and around Chesterfield.

Eight vehicles, all Honda or Toyota cars, have been targeted in the area between Friday 24 January and Tuesday 28 January.

Five were stolen yesterday between 9.30am and 5.30pm, at the Saltergate multi-storey and Holywell Cross (donut) car parks, on Rose Hill (opposite the front of the town hall), from Queen’s Park Leisure Centre car park on Boythorpe Road, and Walton Hospital car park on Whitecotes Lane.

Officers believe the offenders were using a dark coloured VW Golf or similar vehicle in connection with these incidents, and would like to speak to anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious.

Thefts have also been reported from cars parked at Chesterfield Royal Hospital and on Foundry Street in Whittington Moor.

Police are also urging people to be vigilant and reminding motorists about ways in which they can help reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

A catalytic converter is a device on vehicle exhausts that reduces the toxic gases and pollutants. Precious metals must be used because the converters have to work efficiently enough to meet emissions standards.

There are a number of steps motorists can take to reduce their chance of becoming a victim, including:

  • If possible, park in a garage or in a position where it would be difficult to access the underside of the vehicle near the exhaust.
  • Consider marking the catalytic converter with a serial number to identify it, and register it on sites such as Immobilise.
  • Seek advice from a professional around installing safe protective coverings over the catalytic converter. This may not prevent it from being stolen, but would make it more difficult and slow down the process.
  • Install alarms and CCTV.
  • Good quality lighting near to your vehicle will improve natural surveillance and can act as a deterrent.
  • If you see anyone acting suspicious/appearing to be working on a car in a public car park, report it to police

The cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals they use are less likely to corrode, meaning they are worth more.

Prices for certain precious metals have increased in the last 18 months, which officers believe has led to an increase in thefts nationally, and an operation is ongoing in Derbyshire to target them.

If you have any information, or to report suspicious activity, please contact officers using one of the following non-emergency contact methods.

  • Facebook – send a private message to /Derbyshire Constabulary
  • Twitter – direct message @DerPolContact
  • Website – complete the online contact form derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
  • Phone – call 101.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In the event of an emergency you should always call 999.

 

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