Hillingdon Neighbourhood Watch has warned car owners – especially those with a Honda Jazz - after a spate of catalytic converter thefts. These parts are located in the exhaust system under the vehicle.
The damage resulting from the theft risks causing a fire or fumes entering the vehicle.
According to HNW, a Northwood Resident, aged 87, recently caught four thieves stealing his converter. They reportedly had an angle grinder and he found his car jacked up in his drive.
Residents were warned that six converters were stolen from the car park at Lidl in Hayes in just one week this summer. Vehicles parked in Sainsbury's in Uxbridge and Waitrose in Ruislip were also targeted recently, Hillingdon is Here has heard.
Ex-Ruislip resident and car recovery business owner Jay Madden told Hillingdon is Here that his staff have come across many such thefts lately, including at Hillingdon Hospital and Northolt swimming pool.
Mr Madden, who runs J Madden Garages Ltd, carries out much of his work in the Hillingdon and north-west London area. He said he thought Honda Jazz models were possibly being targeted because they are easier to access and their catalytic converters maybe larger.
He said: “We've been called out to a number of cases recently around Harrow, Northolt, Uxbridge and Hillingdon, where cars have had the catalytic converters taken.
“The owners realised instantly something was wrong when they went to drive off from the car park they were in – there a is loud noise from underneath the car and the engine management light may come on, plus there is a lack of power.
“What I would advise drivers to do is to check before they drive off. They would know as soon as they start the car, however I have come across a couple of people who have driven for a short distance.
“There is no physical sign of the theft, there's nothing on the outside, it’s all underneath and the noise is the first indication.
“Apparently the reason it's happening is they're after these because the high value of the precious metals they contain, which are supposed to be on the rise.
“We've had to recover the vehicles because they can't be driven in that state due to noise, lack of power, fumes entering the cabin and possible fire risk.”
An email from HNW warned: “Please be aware we are being hit on a significant scale across the area with catalytic converters being taken and in particular the Honda Jazz model being particularly hit.”