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Catalytic converter thefts update

Published on: 06/02/2020

A small number of people’s cars parked at Milton Park have regrettably been victim the national problem of catalytic converter thefts.


In the last few months, we have been keeping the Park's community informed through the Travel Forum Representatives. And our on-site Security and Facilities teams are continuing to  work closely with Thames Valley Police and their local Police Community Support officers.


The following has today been sent to our Travel Forum Representatives asking them to pass this notice onto their colleagues immediately.


Dear Milton Park Travel Forum Representative

Regrettably, there have been a few more catalytic converter thefts this week at Milton Park and across the Didcot area. Security have managed to thwart two events by arriving on the scene just in time and we have CCTV footage of two other recent events.

Unfortunately, and distressingly for the victims of these crimes, Thames Valley Police says it is very difficult to police as the thieves use stolen cars and usually manage to remove the catalytic converters within a couple of minutes at most.  We understand there are several gangs involved and operating across the area.

Security are increasing their patrols and are being extra vigilant and Thames Valley Police are assisting where they can.  However, please can I ask everyone to look out for any suspicious behaviour, e.g. someone crouching down by a car? Typically, they operate in pairs, with one in the driver’s seat and one in the back of a (usually stolen) car.  If you spot anything, please call Security immediately on 01235 861125.

To give you an idea of how brazen these criminals are, yesterday three people walked straight past the person removing the catalytic converter and a delivery van also drew up next to them while they were stealing it in the middle of the day.  The incident was caught on the CCTV camera and the footage has been passed on to the Police.

If you think your car may be at risk, then please look at Thames Valley Police’s advice from my previous message on this subject (below).  Whether you reverse park or park forwards against a fence, or another car will depend on the make and model of your car. Please consult your garage if you are not sure.

Together, following TVPA’s guidance below, we can work to prevent any further crimes by making it as difficult as possible for the thieves to access the exhaust system. Our Security will continue to increase their patrols and work with the Police.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Advice from Police re catalytic converter thefts:


- Thieves appear to be targeting Toyota (Prius)and Lexus, as well as some Honda (Jazz) and Land Rover vehicles.

- Park your car in a locked garage where possible, but if this isn't an option, then park it in a well-lit and well-populated area.

- Park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make the theft more difficult.

- Avoid parking your vehicle half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter.

- In public car parks, consider parking alongside other cars and facing your bonnet towards the wall if possible. With the catalytic converter positioned at the front of your vehicle, this will make it harder for thieves to get close enough to steal it.

- With a fleet of vehicles, park the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles. This will obstruct access underneath.

- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.

- Etch a serial number on the catalytic converter.

- Purchase a 'cage clamp' which locks around the catalytic converter making it more difficult to remove, as well as cat locks for certain makes of vehicle. Local dealerships and garages will have more information about these.

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