Worst towns and cities for catalytic converter thefts revealed

Catalytic converter thefts rose six-fold between 2019 and 2020, with the biggest increases in Warrington, Wolverhampton and Coventry

Mazda RX-8 catalytic converter

The UK towns and cities with the most catalytic converter thefts have been revealed, as well as those that have seen the biggest increases in the crime.

In the financial years from 2017/18 to 2019/20, London had 15,237 recorded catalytic converter thefts - unsurprisingly more than anywhere else. Birmingham was the second-worst area with 320 thefts, while Coventry came third with 287 thefts over the period.

Rank

Town/City

2017/18 thefts

2018/19 thefts

2019/20 Thefts

Total

1

London

154

2,600

12,483

15,237

2

Birmingham

26

62

232

320

3

Coventry

23

31

233

287

4

Cambridge

4

20

142

166

5

Luton

5

33

63

101

6

Peterborough

11

8

56

75

7

Derby

7

14

50

71

8

Wolverhampton

2

4

63

69

9

Manchester

5

16

45

66

10

Bristol

5

9

44

58

Police data obtained by BBC 5 Live in August showed there had been a six-fold increase in catalytic converter thefts between 2019 and 2020. Now, new research by CompareTheMarket.com has revealed which areas saw the biggest increases.

Warrington - the 14th-worst area overall - saw a huge increase in catalytic converter thefts between 2018/19, when it had just one reported case, and 2019/20, when there were 28 incidents.

The second-biggest increase came in Wolverhampton - ranked eighth overall - where there was another massive rise, from four cases in 2018/19, to 63 in the last financial year. Coventry, meanwhile, saw a 652 per cent increase.

Rank

Town/City

2018/19 thefts

2019/20 thefts

Year-on-year Increase

1

Warrington

1

28

2,700%

2

Wolverhampton

4

63

1,475%

3

Coventry

31

233

652%

4

Middlesbrough

3

22

633%

5

Cambridge

20

142

610%

6

Peterborough

8

56

600%

7

Liverpool

2

11

450%

7

York

2

11

450%

9

Plymouth

1

5

400%

10

Bristol

9

44

389%

Catalytic converters can be stolen from underneath a car in seconds and are valuable due to the precious metals contained within them. The theft itself and the damage usually done to the car during the crime means repairs can end up costing drivers between £2,000 and £3,000.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at CompareTheMarket.com, commented: “These statistics are high and the value of the metals within catalytic converters has gone up significantly, resulting in a car part which was previously of little interest to thieves suddenly becoming very valuable, which explains the spikes. 

“For those who are worried about falling victim to this type of theft, try parking your car in a way which would make it difficult for thieves to slide under the car to access the catalytic converter. There are also anti-theft devices you can buy and fit to your car to prevent unwanted attention.”

One solution to catalytic converter thefts is a device called Catloc, which is supported by Toyota and other manufacturers. This security device can be installed around a catalytic converter, making it much harder for the component to be stolen.

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