The theft of catalytic converters from motorhomes has become a large scale problem in the UK, and Caravan Guard have seen a dramatic rise in thefts during 2010 and 2011, with tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage caused each year.
We had a 550% increase in thefts during 2010 compared to 2009, and worryingly 2011 has started off even worse, with more thefts so far this year than during the whole of 2010.
It is said that motorhomes are being targeted due to their high ground clearance which makes it easier for thieves to get underneath and access the catalytic converter. Fiat and Peugeot based motorhomes seem to be the most targeted.
Thieves are targeting catalytic converters as they contain a small amount of precious metal.
The average cost of an insurance claim to replace a stolen catalytic converter on a motorhome last year stood at over £800. Such a claim could of course affect your no claims discount and almost certainly would affect your motorhome insurance renewal premium.
But there are ways that you can protect yourself, and keep your motorhome from being the next target for catalytic converter theft.
Claims Liaison manager Teresa Eastwood, has this advice
“We have come across a device called Cat Clamp. This device attaches around the catalytic converter and makes it extremely difficult for thieves to remove your catalytic converter. On top of that it does what all good security devices do; it acts as a big deterrent to any would be thieves. If your motorhome has one fitted then most thieves would be unlikely to take the time to try and break through the device.”
“Our other suggestions for prevention of theft would include basic advice such as parking your motorhome in view of the general public by day and in well lit areas by night if at all possible when out and about. Likewise when your motorhome is not in use, investing in security lighting if you keep your motorhome at home or paying to store it in a high security storage site is advisable.”
Various regional police forces are organising events across the UK offering free security marking for catalytic converters. The unique marking then is registered to your motorhome’s registration details. Obviously the marking would not make it any more difficult to steal a catalytic converter but the hope is that it would devalue the catalytic converter to thieves and handlers of stolen goods and make them more difficult to sell on. Call your local police force’s non emergency helpline to ask for details of such events in your area.
For other ways to protect your motorhome from theft, please visit our motorhome security page.
The Cat Clamp device is available from http://www.catsafe.org.uk/ (see photos below of the device before fitting, and fitted to a catalytic converter)