Car owner urges people to be aware after spate of catalytic converter thefts

AN ELDERLY car owner is warning people their vehicles may be targeted by thieves looking to steal catalytic converters.

William Hartley was left with a bill of more than £500 after his was swiped from his vehicle in broad daylight.

It is at least the second such incident in that area that saw the part taken in a spate of similar crimes around the country.

Another theft was reported from a garage on Beal Lane.

William, 81, was later told the Asda supermarket in Shaw, where his Honda Jazz car was targeted on November 21, is only covered by three CCTV cameras and there are plans to improve it next year.

He has also discovered only two supermarkets in the area – Tesco in Chadderton and Morrisons in Rochdale – have their car parks fully covered by CCTV.

Now he wants other owners to be aware that catalytic converters are being stolen.

He said: “To replace the cat and sensor cost £563 at a local garage.

“Having done my shopping I returned to my car and switched on the engine.

“It started with a very noisy roaring sound which gave me a bit of a shock and I couldn’t understand what was wrong as everything was OK when I parked it.

“I wondered if it was driveable and I was able to slowly limp it to a nearby garage.

“The mechanic knew straight away that the cat had gone and he told me that there had been similar thefts in the local area involving Honda Jazz cars.

“I would advise owners of older Jazz cars up to 08 reg to try to park within coverage of CCTV cameras or where there are plenty of people around.

“Even so, it is doubtful if this would deter thieves. Maybe leaving a passenger in the parked car might be worth considering.”

William reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police and took the issue up with Asda’s store manager Paul Makin.

Councillor Chris Gloster has also taken up the issue and Asda revealed to him there are plans to boost CCTV coverage.

William added: “I reported the theft to the police and I spoke to the store manager about the theft and lack of CCTV coverage of the car park.

“While he was sympathetic he was unable to reassure me that something could be done to prevent further thefts.

“Incidentally, I have discovered it appears, that only two local supermarkets have partial CCTV cameras on their car parks– Morrisons Rochdale and Tesco Chadderton.”

In a reply to Cllr Gloster, Mr Makin said: “We currently have three CCTV cameras in operation on our car ark and plans are currently in place for these to be reviewed with a possibility of being updated in 2020 from our asset protection team in Asda House.

“We take every precaution to ensure our customers’ and local residents’ safety is of upmost importance.”

William is determined to spread word that catalytic converters are being targeted after previous warnings drew blank faces.

He said: “I have spoken to several owners of Jazz cars re the thefts and most of them were unaware of the situation. Toyota Prius is also a target.”

Catalytic converter thefts are said to be soaring across the UK due to the presence of precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium in them.

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