New rule changes could close loopholes and stop catalytic converter thefts

Catalytic Converter: How the device helps reduce emissions

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Sources have said the new rule could see tougher restrictions on the sale of precious metals found in converters such as palladium and rhodium to deter criminals stealing the parts. New rules may also see scrap metal dealers forced to keep records on the sale of parts so thieves can be tracked down.

Catalytic converter thefts are a rising concern with reports soaring by more than 300 percent last year.

The RAC said the crime now accounts for three in ten thefts from private vehicles in the UK.

However, the spate of thefts is almost directly linked to the rising value of precious metals such as Rhodium.

The metal hit record highs at the start of 2021 with prices jumping more than 200 percent since last year.

AA President, Edmund King said the legislation “should be tightened” to close simple loopholes which allow thieves to extract the metals and sell them with relative ease.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The thing with the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 that I believe is a problem is that it says it’s illegal to pay cash from scrap metal.

“But as I understand it there’s a kind of loophole where it is not illegal to pay cash for parts.

“So what they say is ‘I’ve got this catalytic converter, it’s a legitimate part, give me cash’.

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“Which frankly is ridiculous because we all know you would not fit a sawn-off exhaust catalyst onto another car, so it is not a legitimate part.

“We do think the legislation should be tightened up too close loopholes like that.

“Also perhaps to ensure the scrap dealers have more of a paper chain to back up where they got these parts from, that would help.”

He added: “It’s got to be a combination of legislation and police and local authority action.

“Getting the Police to visit the scrap dealers to look for evidence, to look for a paper trail where the goods have come from.

“Having said that, not all of these are sold through registered dealers.

“There are some people who do ‘Cats for Cash’ and you meet by the the telephone box off the high street and do it that way.

“There is no doubt this should be taken as a serious crime. An individual is selling dozens a week, £400 sometimes at a time. They are making a lot of money out of this.

“They are becoming more brazen, more violent, more aggressive and there is evidence it is linked to broader crime.

“It is absolutely right the police target these gangs at the highest level.”

Toyota has confirmed they will spend £1million secretly marking more than a million catalytic converters to help tackle the number of thefts.

This will help police detect how many parts sold to scrap metal dealers were taken from vehicles.

Toyota said they had also had “positive and supportive meetings” with the Government including “examining the effectiveness of the law”.

James Clark, spokesperson for Toyota GB told Express.co.uk said: “We have had extremely positive and supportive meetings with government, police and other agencies over a wide range of issues related to the organised theft of catalytic converters.

“Including examining the effectiveness of the law related to the sale of stolen catalysts to scrap metal dealers and recyclers.”

Express.co.uk have contacted the Scrap Metal Dealers Association for comment.

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