Free Security Etchings on Catalytic Converters As Part of Winter Vehicle Checking

  • Bedfordshire Police has teamed up with National Tyres to offer motorists the opportunity to get a free security marking etched on their vehicle’s catalytic converter as part of its winter vehicle check service.

Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves as they contain small amounts of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.

National Tyres has centres based in Bedford, Dunstable and Luton and currently has around 1,000 etching kits so they can mark the catalytic converters for free on any vehicle that one and has been booked in for a winter check service.

Whilst the catalytic converter is being etched, National Tyres staff will register the vehicle details with Smartwater, so if the catalytic converter is ever stolen and later recovered, police can match it to the vehicle it was taken from. 

Lesley Johnson, Design Out Crime Officer at Bedfordshire Police, said, “We tend to get a spike of catalytic converter thefts in the winter months, and with the current cost of these metal particles remaining high, this type of theft is very likely to continue.

“By encouraging as many people as we can to get their catalytic converters etched and displaywarning stickers on the vehicle, which is included in the kit, I am hoping that this initiative will prevent further thefts.  

“Initially it seemed to be Japanese cars that were the main vehicles affected, but now it would appear that any vehicle, both private or commercially owned with a catalytic converter that is easily accessible can be a target.

“To help catch these preparators, we are also asking members of the public to assist us by reporting any thefts to us so we can build up a picture of which areas are most affected and act accordingly. We are also asking people to let us know of any scrapyard or collection vehicle that they suspect may not be operating legally.”

“I’d also like to thank the regional manager for National Tyres and the staff at the three branches for their support in working together to deliver this for the public.”

* Please note that the security etchings will only be done as part of a pre-booked appointment for a winter vehicle check service.

The three centres participating in this scheme can be contacted below:

Below is some further advice that motorists can follow to minimise their chances of becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft.
  • Where possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as close to your home as possible or in a parking spot overlooked by residents.
  • Consider installing a Thatcham approved alarm to your vehicle; the type that will activate if the vehicle is lifted or tilted,
  • If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to police. Obtain as much information as possible, including any associated vehicle registrations.
Find out more about how to protect yourself from metal theft.

To report any suspicious behaviour, please call police on 101 or use their online reporting tool.

Always call 999 to report an emergency or if a crime is in progress.

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