/ Motoring

Have you had your catalytic converter stolen?

With case reports increasing, catalytic converter theft appears to be a growing problem. Have you been a victim? We want to hear from you.

Last month the BBC reported a surge in the number of catalytic converters being stolen in London. In August last year it said thefts in England and Wales had risen sixfold.

I’ve noticed an increasing number of posts on social media about the thefts: it’s clear that this is a problem that’s getting worse, not better.


They’re not just being taken under cover of darkness, either. People are reporting having their catalytic converters stolen in supermarket car parks and even while parked up in broad daylight. One local resident reported the thieves cheerfully waving as they drove off. 

Those affected are, understandably, angry. Angry there’s nothing they can do about it, bar get a crime number to pass on to their insurance company. Angry that the thieves are so brazen. Angry that it all seems to be so easy for them.

Why are catalytic converter thefts rising?

To get a better understanding of the problem, we spoke with one of the garages on our Which? Trusted Traders scheme. We put the following five questions to IN’n’OUT Autocentres:

🔧 1. Why is this issue growing so rapidly?

It’s always been an issue, but a jump from 2,000 reported cases in 2018 across England & Wales to 13,000 in 2019 shows it’s growing rapidly. Following on from repeated lockdowns the likelihood is that theft has increased as cars have been stationary in streets and driveways and not used for weeks. Fewer people out at night time can make thefts easier.

🔧 2. How are catalytic converters being removed without anyone noticing?

Unfortunately they are easy to remove, particularly on large vans and SUVs/4X4s as thieves can get under those vehicles more easily. Again with people being homebound in the evenings due to lockdown there are fewer people on the streets, making it easier to do.

🔧 3. What happens to a catalytic converter after it’s stolen?

They get sold for the scrap value or the second-hand market. Prices have rocketed for rhodium, platinum and palladium, with palladium selling more per gram than gold last year.

🔧 4. How much could victims be forced to pay for repairs?

It could be as little £200 depending on the car and the damage caused, or in some cases even into four figures.

🔧 5. What can be done to prevent catalytic converter theft?

We’d recommend parking the car in a garage if possible or a well-lit area, have a catlock device fitted, ensure your car alarm is set.

Have you been a victim?

Have you been affected by catalytic converter theft?
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Have you had your catalytic converter stolen? If so, we’d like to hear from you.

How did your insurance company approach the issue? Did you report the incident to the police? How did the police then deal with the situation?

Let us know in the comments. Alternatively, if you’d rather let us know privately you can reach us by email on conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Rakesh Sharma says:
2 July 2021

I have had my cat convertor from my Toyota prius stolen twice from BMW work car park

My Prius and Auris have had their cats marked by the Sussex police in association with Toyota. I suggest you have yours done.

Judith Gregory says:
28 July 2021

I have a Toyoto Prius bought in 2006.
I have had four catalytic converter stolen in the years 2018-2020.
The first two were seen by a friend sitting near the window but they were too swift to stop them.
The third and fourth time I parked the car outside the house to take the shopping and dog inside before backing the car behind the electric gate we have installed to keep the car safe. In less than three minutes the thieves had managed to steal the Catalytic Converters. In both cases I got the car registration numbers which turned out to be false plates.
I have contacted the police on all occasions.
After the first one the police advised me to get a dash cam which I duly did. The first night the car window was smashed to steal it.
Two offers to buy the car have fallen through because of the record of the thefts.
A cage has been fixed under the car by Toyota.
I have to have had five years with no claims to be able to buy a car with normal insurance.

My Honda Civic has been targeted 2 times in two years. The first time they stole the cat converter, which was then replaced with a ‘copy’.

This time (5 days ago) they stole it, ripped out the exhaust, sensors and exhaust pipe. Total repair cost was £400+
All I got from the police was an email with a ref number- nothing else.

catherine walsh says:
27 February 2022

I had my cat stolen from my Honda jazz 2005 car in 2019. Fortunately it was on my drive. Unfortunately I called AA who diagnosed the problem and towed it to one of their garages. I had to pay for the repair because what I should have done was contact my insurer, once I knew the problem, for the car to go to one of their approved garages. Now have a (probably) cheaper cat which has not yet been stolen. Looking to replace car now due to gearbox going, wanting to get a more thief proof car.

B Harvey says:
31 March 2022

“These terms apply in addition to the Which? General Terms, User-Generated Content Policy and Privacy Policy so please take the time to read these carefully. ”
Why should I? You’re running a newspaper, not Fort Knox. Impertinent people! I don’t agree with your T&C.

David says:
21 May 2022

My cat converter was stolen from my driveway. I live down a cul de sac so thought the limited escape routes for the thieves would put them off. But one stood guard while the other got to work. I’ve heard of similar thefts in the area with menaces or actual harm.