ISSUE: Cat theft is a rising problem
In our latest Expert Blog, James Mackay, Sales and Development Manager at CATLOC, explains how you can combat the Cat theft epidemic…
It’s 7.30am on a cold winter Monday morning and you’ve just received a call from one of your company van drivers to say that they’ve arrived at the depot to start their day, started up their van and realised that the catalytic converter (Cat) has been stolen.
You ask the driver to check the other 29 vans in the depot and he reports that all of the vans have had their Cats stolen as well.
It’s the scenario from hell for a fleet manager as most of your vehicles are now off the road and you know you’re going to incur some serious costs in sorting out this problem.
However, what about the knock on implications for the business?
How are your customers going to react if they don’t receive their goods or services?
What would the real cost of losing your fleet for a day be?
Could you utilise a hire vehicle or do you have specialised vehicles bespoke to your business?
Through my work with CATLOC I have come across this scenario many times either reported by our colleagues in the police involved with Operation Ferrous or fleet managers calling me after the occurrence in order to protect their fleet from being targeted again.
Vehicles with high ground clearance and Cats slung underneath are the most at risk.
This includes LCVs, vans, 4x4s and pickup trucks.
Cat theft has been well publicised recently in the media and has even been featured by the BBC.
The crime of Cat theft has more than doubled in the past three years with 25,000 incidents being reported.
With fleets being the main targets, these 25,000 incidents could actually relate to a lot more thefts or vehicles being involved.
With the estimated cost to replace a stolen Cat in parts alone for the average LCV running to around £1,800, this represents a huge cost to fleets.
So what can you do to protect your fleet?
There are lots of options available including suggestions of garaging vehicles, CCTV, secure facilities, welding Cats so they cannot be unbolted and utilising alarm systems.
However, all of these methods have so far proved ineffective or impractical in thwarting the thieves who are usually organised enough to get round such measures.
By far the best method for mitigating the chances of Cat theft is to utilise a physical protection system along with marking and recording the Cat on the International Security Register (ISR), which is both police approved and Thatcham accredited.
Physical protection systems provide both a physical and visual deterrent to thieves.
Marking the Cat also allows the police to find and recover property in the unlikely event that it is stolen.
However, not all physical protection systems are the same.
You should ask if the system is approved by OE vehicle manufacturers, if it comes with an ISR marking kit, establish how long it takes to fit and if it can be removed and refitted in a workshop scenario should the vehicle require maintenance.
Above all, it is very important to choose the protection method that best suits your fleet and one that you can just fit and forget.
Take the proactive approach and explore the options available to you before your fleet becomes the next target for catalytic converter theft and you become the one receiving the dreaded 7.30am phone call.