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Adam Hewitt
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In Nationwide crackdown, police forces recover more than 1000 stolen catalytic converters

According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), police forces across the nation recovered over a thousand stolen catalytic converters and arrested more than 50 people as part of a joint operation to tackle catalytic converter theft.


In Nationwide crackdown, police forces recover more than 1000 stolen catalytic converters f

British Transport Police (BTP) coordinated the operation, codenamed Goldiron, which saw police forces join experts from the Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC), led by the Environment Agency, Smartwater Group, and motor industry, to carry out synchronised enforcement action, intelligence-led site visits, forensic marking and educational events.

Catalytic converters clean harmful gases before they exit a vehicle’s exhaust pipe and are stolen for the precious metal they contain. These metals have surged in value recently, leading to organised crime networks to commit more offences.

Between Monday 19th and Friday 23rd April, officers and partner agencies:

  • made 56 arrests
  • visited 926 sites (catalytic converter process plants, scrap metal dealers, vehicle dismantlers and catalytic converter buyers)
  • stopped 664 vehicles
  • recovered 1,037 stolen catalytic converters and 297 items of stolen property
  • identified 244 offences

During these visits and checks, officers searched for stolen metal and examined trader’s financial records to ensure they were complying with the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act. The JUWC coordinated a series of waste site inspections to ensure businesses held environmental permits and met other legal requirements.

Catalytic converter marking demonstrations were also held throughout the week to educate and encourage drivers to protect their vehicles. Over 1,610 vehicles were forensically marked by officers and partner agencies.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Metal Crime, BTP Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Doyle, said:

“The positive results from this week are testament to why it’s vital we join forces to share information and specialist knowledge to disrupt those operating in this area of crime.

“By taking a multi-agency approach, we are maximising our ability to identify those who are involved in catalytic converter theft, making it harder for them to sell stolen metal and gain from their criminal activities.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Vehicle Crime, Cheshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Simms, said:

“We recognise the impact catalytic converter theft has on victims. A national conference took place in November last year to create a cross-agency plan focussed on prevention and detection and this is the second week of action that has taken place since.

“Policing and law enforcement agencies will continue to focus on catalytic converter theft and ensure that this low risk/ high-reward crime is relentlessly targeted, and offenders are brought to justice. The results from this week are impressive.”

Manager of the JUWC, Phil Davies, added:

“This week of action is another example of how the JUWC, together with other partners and agencies, are targeting criminals who exploit the waste industry and harm the environment. Utilising the skills and expertise across agencies we will continue to identify further opportunities to impact upon waste crime.”

Reports of catalytic converter theft should be made as soon as possible to increase the chances of detection.

People are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling 101, or 999 if an offence is in progress. If you spot something at a railway station, contact British Transport Police (BTP) by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.



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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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