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Appeal following catalytic converter thefts at Chester Zoo

Detectives are appealing for information from members of the public after catalytic converters were stolen from cars at Chester Zoo.

At least three vehicles – a Toyota Prius, a Toyota Auris and a Lexus RX 400 – had their catalytic converter stolen from the zoo’s car park on Thursday 9 July.

The thefts occurred between 1pm and 5pm.

Enquiries in relation to the incidents are ongoing and detectives are urging anyone with information or dashcam footage that may help their investigation to get in touch.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “We are determined to establish who stole the catalytic converters from the cars of people who were visiting the zoo and make them face the consequences of their actions.

“As part of our ongoing enquiries we want to speak to anyone who was at Chester Zoo between 1pm and 5pm on Thursday 9 July and witnessed anything suspicious.

“It takes specialist tools to remove catalytic converters from vehicles.

“If you saw, or have dashcam footage of, anyone acting suspiciously in the zoo’s car park please contact the team here at Chester Police Station.

“The same goes for anyone who believes that they may know who stole the catalytic converters.”

Anyone with any information or dashcam footage that may aid the investigation should call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, quoting IML 750343, give the details via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In recent times thieves have stolen catalytic converters from cars across Cheshire.

They have done so in daylight at car parks and other areas where vehicles are left.

Inspector Anton Sullivan, of Cheshire Constabulary’s Roads and Crime Unit, said: “Offenders have been predominantly targeting hybrid vehicles.

“Honda, Toyota, Lexus and Kia cars have been targeted, but other vehicles may also be at risk.

“I encourage motorists to be vigilant and review any security measures they have in place.

“I also urge people to call the police on 101 as soon as possible if they see anyone removing catalytic converters or acting suspiciously in car parks or other areas where cars are left.

“In addition, I ask scrap metal dealers to be mindful if they are ever offered catalytic converters or exhaust systems and to contact us if they suspect that they could have been stolen.”

There are a number of steps that motorists can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim, including:

  • If possible, park your car in a garage
  • If your car is at high risk, consider marking the metal shell of the converter with a unique mark, so that if it is stolen it will be easier to trace back to your vehicle
  • If your catalytic converter is bolted on, the bolts can be welded shut – this would not stop a determined thief but would slow them down
  • Giving some consideration to the way your vehicle is parked could reduce the chances of your catalytic converter being stolen – high and low clearance vehicles being parked close together make it more difficult for a thief to gain access to converters
  • Good quality lighting will improve natural surveillance and make a thief less likely to be able to remove a catalytic converter without being seen
  • Leaving your car in an area covered by CCTV may also deter thieves – CCTV systems should be well signed.

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