Operation Feline Returns to Tackle Catalytic Converter Crime

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Hertfordshire Constabulary is reminding drivers that they can get free catalytic converter marking, as part of Operation Feline, to help protect their vehicles.

Catalytic converter thefts have continued this year, with thieves targeting the units due to the valuable metals they contain and can be removed fairly quickly.

Operation Feline aims to help drivers protect their catalytic converters and provide practical crime prevention advice to help deter thieves. As part of the campaign certain garages across the county are offering free security marking services.

Inspector Nicki Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: ‘Thieves particularly target specific hybrid models, such as the pre-2008 Honda Jazz, Toyota Prius (2004-2016) and Toyota Arius (2012-2018).

‘We are reminding drivers that we are still working with local garages to offer free security marking. So far we have marked close to 1000 vehicles since the launch of Operation Feline in 2020. We would also urge the public to follow our advice, remain vigilant and report incidents of suspected catalytic converter theft, particularly where people are trying to get under cars in public car parks or on public roads. If you see this happening, please call 999 immediately.’

Details of the security marking scheme can be found at www.herts.police.uk/operationfeline.

In order to minimise the chance of becoming a victim, police offer the following advice:

  • Lock your car whenever it is left unattended and keep it in a garage when parked at night if possible.
  • When using a garage is not possible, park close to fences, walls or a kerb with the exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb to make theft difficult.
  • Consider fitting CCTV on your home or driveway, to help deter thieves.
  • Use PIR or LED security lighting to make your vehicle more visible and this can also act as a deterrent.
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, consider having the bolts welded to make removal difficult.
  • Fit protective coverings on catalytic converters, such as the Toyota manufactured CATLOC device, (these are made for Toyota Prius made between 2004 and 2009) as these can make it much more difficult for thieves.
  • Have your catalytic converter etched or forensically marked, and put stickers in the windscreen to say this has been done.
  • Look for car parks with a Secured Car Park sign which have recognised levels of security. If you have a garage at home, ensure you use it and lock it properly.
  • Noisy gravel on your drive can help deter a would-be thief, as they don’t want to alert you to their approach.
  • Never leave valuable items or tools on display in your vehicle as this may encourage a thief to break in.

More advice on how to make your vehicle safe is available at: www.herts.police.uk/crimeprevention.

If you have information about thefts from vehicles you can also report information online or speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via online web chat.

Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.

To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people in your local area, sign up to www.owl.co.uk/herts.