POLICE figures show incidents of catalytic converter theft in Dorset have skyrocketed in recent years - but what can be done to protect your vehicle.

As reported by the Daily Echo, Dorset Police has recorded an increase in reports of almost six thousand per cent over the past five years, with a noticeable surge in 2021.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium and the value of these materials has boomed in recent years.

Below is some of the practical steps that drivers can take to make the theft more challenging and what people who spot a thief should do.

What can people do to make it more difficult for criminals?

Dorset Police said members of the public need to be aware that catalytic converter thieves could well be targeting their area. Any suspicious activity around vehicles should be reported to police.

Poole Police has published a video with advice and tips on its social media platforms.

Motorists should mark their catalytic converter.

Dorset Police has secured 2,000 free marking kits and through a network of garages the force offers free marking to owners of the most at risk vehicles.

Other garages can also offer the system and you can buy it online. To date, officers have marked 400 of the most at risk vehicles with SmartWater property marking kits. Across the country, the AA has been working alongside police on this initiative.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said most new cars have been redesigned to make catalytic converters harder to steal.

Those with even slightly old cars should contact their manufacturer and ask to have it 'Catloc' fit.

Practical steps drivers can take include locking the car in a garage or up against a wall so it is more difficult for someone to get underneath the vehicle.

What do you need to report to police if you see something suspicious?

Anyone who sees anything suspicious should report it immediately to police.

Dorset Police asks that residents try to provide the following information:

  • How many people did you see involved?
  • Any description of those involved – height, build, clothing etc.
  • Details of the vehicle they are travelling in including any identifying features, such as the registration number, dents, marks or stickers.
  • Which direction have they left the area in?

For further advice and information visit dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/home-property/vehicle-crime-removeitlockit/catalytic-converter-theft/