CHESHIRE Police has launched a crackdown on catalytic converter thefts last week.

This type of crime has been on the rise across the country recently.

The force is committed to tackling the issue, working alongside its partner agencies.

Detective Inspector Nick Henderson said: “From last Monday to Sunday (April 19 to April 25) we joined forces across the country taking part in a national week of action to combat catalytic converter thefts.

“We organised engagement activities at hotspot areas across Cheshire, giving vehicle owners advice on how to reduce their chances of becoming victims.

“We also forensically marked 135 catalytic converters, on vehicles that are typically targeted by thieves, to ensure that we know who the ‘cats’ belong to should they ever be stolen and recovered.

“Scrap metal dealers were also visited and urged to contact us should they ever be offered what they suspect to be stolen catalytic converters or exhaust systems.”

It takes specialist tools to remove a catalytic converter.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity and suspects that a converter is being targeted, you should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or 999 as soon as it is safe to do so.

Officers also want to hear from you on 101 or via if you have any information regarding catalytic converter theft incidents or the identities of offenders.

The force’s tips for deterring catalytic converter thieves include:

Protect your car by asking your dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to Sold Secure Gold

If you can, park your car in a locked garage when it is unattended – otherwise, park as close to your property as possible or in a well-lit area clearly covered by CCTV

Try to park so that the converter can't be easily reached, close to a wall, a fence or tightly between other cars for example

If you are using a car park, use a ‘Park Mark’ one to ensure that it has been assessed and approved for security

Consider installing a Thatcham approved alarm to your car – ones that activate if your vehicle is lifted or tilted are particularly effective

Mark your catalytic converter with a forensic marker and register your converter to make it harder for thieves to dispose of it

If your converter is bolted on, the bolts can be welded shut – this would not stop a determined thief but would slow them down.