TD says catalytic converters must be ‘traceable’ to stop spike in crime gang robberies
A Dublin TD who was one of the latest victims of the catalytic converter theft explosion in vehicles across the country has called for more traceability to crack down on the crime.
ardai has faced a massive increase in catalytic converter theft over the past three years due to the high price of precious metals contained in some models.
Over the past two weeks, Gardai in various parts of the country has issued alerts about the theft of devices, commonly referred to as cats in the auto trade, while there have also been a number of high-profile cat seizures. as a result of raids in recent weeks. .
The number of reported aircraft thefts fell from 79 in 2017 to around 1,300 last year.
Sinn Fein Dublin Mid West TD Mark Ward told Sunday World his hybrid car was targeted while parked in a secure underground car park at his home in Lucan two weeks ago.
“There have been a lot of thefts. I was one of the recent victims. I didn’t even know what the problem was. I started my car and a noise came out. I thought it was a mechanical problem. I went to the mechanic and only then did I find out what had happened.
In his case, the cat cost € 1300 to replace and even after claiming through his insurance, he had to pay an additional € 300 and this affected his non-claim premium.
He added that “There is no identifying mark on these converters. It is practically impossible to return them to their rightful owners. It will not happen.
“My understanding is that these organized gangs go to areas like locusts that are invading areas and take what they can, and then they move to other areas after that to limit their own exposure. They are quite organized.
“When I went to the guards to report mine, I was the fourth that day alone to report to my local station in Ronanstown.
He said that when he visited his car dealership to have his cat fixed, he was the seventh customer for the coming week after his cat was stolen.
“They’re like Formula 1 mechanics. They’re out in 30 seconds. They are like lightning.
“These groups know that people are likely to have the catalytic converter replaced, so they can go back and get another one as well.
“They’re organized in a deadly fashion and that’s a lot of money. The sooner the better we get something that will deter the industry, the better. “
He said that while there were locks available for cats, some thieves would get around this problem.
“I was talking to my mechanic. There are locks and it will take longer, but if they are determined to get it, they will do it whether there is a lock or not. He said manufacturers should also consider using less valuable materials in cats to make them less attractive to thieves.
There is already a big difference in the value of different models ranging from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.
Deputy Ward said more needs to be done in terms of traceability.
“There has to be a way for the manufacturers to track them down.
“If there is a way to trace them back to the source and a transparent way to record them, I think that would be a way forward. Regulation is probably necessary. “
John Dockrell, who owns scrapmycar.ie, a licensed car stripper based in north Dublin, said illegal junkyards continued to be a major problem.
“Fingal County has established that there are over 60 illegal sites working in Fingal – it’s just in Fingal.
“Until the people who buy the cats have to deal with properly licensed regulated premises, I think this is going to be an ongoing problem,” he said.
He said that various ways of tackling the problem were being considered.
“It was recently said that if you have an expensive cat, you have to show a tax book to show which car it came off from.”
He said the proliferation of illegal sites has a big impact on legitimate operators who have significant costs to make sure everything is done in accordance with the regulations.
“I have no problem playing on a level playing field, but there is no level field. There are only three or four licensed facilities in North Dublin.
“Our compliance costs and overhead here are appalling while illegal operators don’t have overheads.
“We are talking about 60 illegal sites in a very small area. These are only the ones they know. “
In addition to trafficking in stolen cats, illegal operators offer people around € 200 for scrapping their cars. They then strip them of anything of value, including cats, before throwing the car shell away.
Environmental damage caused by illegal sites is a serious problem. Hazardous materials such as diesel, gasoline, oil, coolant, brake fluid and battery acid that are not disposed of properly can cause major problems.
Paul Devlin, who runs scrapmycar.ie, said it was the responsibility of the last car owner to ensure the vehicle is disposed of properly and that fines can be imposed on anyone whose car is found under -evaluated and not disposed of properly, but this rarely happens.
Every car scrapped by law must be issued with a certificate of destruction known as COD.
“If the general public asked for a COD before the car was taken, it would immediately eliminate 70% of the black market.
Paul said the value of cats varies widely between different vehicles, with some hybrid models being more valuable to thieves due to the higher concentration of precious metals, with Honda, Lexus and Toyota hybrids among the most targeted.
“Some cats are only worth 3 or 4 € and others can be worth a few hundred dollars and thieves know which ones are worth the most. They go for the Prius, the Honda Jazz, there is a Peugeot type 1.4 where the cat is 600 €. They know what they are looking for.
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