London's police officers are spending more time than ever crouching down to examine the aftermath of crime, as the city has recorded a vast rise in the number of thefts of catalytic converters from beneath parked cars.
2,894 thefts of converters were recorded in the first half of 2019; a huge increase in the 1,674 that were reported over the entirety of 2018. It's down to two things; a massive increase in the value of the rare metals inside the units that filter pollutants out of car output, plus an increase in the number of hybrid cars out on the streets.
Thieves prefer the cats of hybrids, as their petrol engines are used less so the internals of the converters are cleaner and their precious metals less soiled by gases. Toyota, manufacturer of the popular Prius hybrid, thinks the solution might be selling customers £200 aftermarket "catlocs" to make it harder for criminals to cut them off, although the British Metals Recycling Association would like the police to further crack down on the selling of scrap metal for cash to shady dealers; a practice that was outlawed six years ago. [BBC]
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