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Catalytic Converter Theft: Police seek support from workshops

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The SmartWater Group, creator of forensic asset marking solutions, is spearheading a new police-backed, national scheme to deter the theft of catalytic converters and other at- risk components from UK vehicles.

In a recent trial with the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership (NICRP) and the British Transport Police (BTP), a reduction of 57% was recorded in catalytic converter thefts over a five-month period. MOT test centres, garages and workshops, are now invited to become accredited registration hubs for a national database, creating an additional revenue stream and ensuring all car owners can protect their vehicle components from being targeted by criminals.

Around 30% of all UK car thefts are geared towards stealing catalytic converters as market prices for precious metals continue to rise. This simple, cost effective ten-minute process, which any garage could offer customers, is now available to deter these crimes. With the vehicle on the ramp, a special SmartWater high temperature product is applied with a brush and the unique formula reference number is logged on the database against the vehicle registration number.

The ‘National Asset Database’ is operated by the SmartWater Group’s Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection on behalf of the police, ensuring that any recovered stolen parts can be identified and traced back to the specific vehicle they were taken from. National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership lead and BTP Superintendent, Mark Cleland, said: “While arrests continue to be made, it is the preventative approach through the forensic marking of catalytic converters that gives motorists the opportunity to protect their property and stop the crime in the first place.”

Unlike the etching of serial numbers, which can be clearly seen by the criminals and removed easily by simply scrapping with a screwdriver, SmartWater is invisible to the naked eye but glows yellow under UV light. Any attempt to scrap it off by the criminal risks spreading incriminating evidence onto their clothes, tools and location. SmartWater scientists only need a speck to identify which vehicle the components belonge to.

Any MOT, auto service centre or car dealership interested in being appointed as a Registration Centre should visit www.smartwater.com/join.

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