Littlehampton woman ‘fuming’ after catalytic converter is stolen

A Littlehampton woman is ‘fuming’ after her catalytic converter was stolen from her electric Toyota Prius.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 2:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:59 pm

Emma Bradshaw, who lives in High Street, parks her car in Church Street as it is free.

But on Wednesday (April 14), she said she went to collect it to go to work at 6am and ‘it sounded like it was going to blow up’.

“I went to start the car and this god almighty noise came out of the engine’, added the 50-year-old.

Emma Bradshaw next to her Toyota Prius. Photo by Steve Robards

“I called the RAC who arrived two hours later and they told me my car had been vandalised and my catalytic converter had been stolen.”

Emma, who works as an immigration custody officer in Crawley, said she phoned the police and her insurance company who were able to provide her with a hire car.

She said she is now waiting to hear if her car can be fixed and if she can claim the theft on her insurance, but is worried about how much this is going to cost.

“I am fuming – that’s the politest words I can say about it,” said Emma.

Emma Bradshaw next to her Toyota Prius. Photo by Steve Robards

“But I’m not shocked that something like this has happened in Littlehampton, the town has fallen into disrepair.”

She said a lack of shops on offer has brought crime to the town, adding that it had got progressively worse over the past four years.

And, she said, there has been a spate of vandalism in the town over the past week, with shop fronts being smashed.

“I never worried about leaving my car in Church Street as it is where everyone parks – I was more worried about walking on my own to get my car early in the morning,” said Emma, adding that she wanted to warn others about the theft and that cars are clearly being targeted in Littlehampton.

A police spokesman confirmed enquiries in relation to the theft were ongoing and anyone who saw what happened, witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area or has any other information is asked to contact police by calling 101 quoting serial 990 of 14/04.

They added: “Police continue to urge motorists to be vigilant following an increase in catalytic converter thefts. There are a number of steps people can take to help prevent this type of theft, including asking your car dealer if they can give you any advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to Sold Secure Gold.

“Alternatively, try to make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle park it in a secure compound. If this isn’t possible, park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked, and tr to park so that the converter can’t be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.

“You can also register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of. For more vehicle crime prevention advice see the Sussex Police website at www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-from-a-vehicle/vehicle-safe-and-sound.

The National Police Chief Council and British Transport Police are running a targeted week of action to raise awareness of catalytic converter theft and offering crime prevention advice to help car owners protect their cars from theft.

Sussex Police is taking part, along with its partners.

This week, officers will be at garages across Sussex offering free catalytic converter forensic marking with SmartWater.

SmartWater is a liquid with a unique forensic code which is detectable under a UV light and can lead to the detection of crime and reunite people with their stolen property.

People are invited to visit one of the garages and have their catalytic converter marked.

To allow for social distancing and for garages to manage this effectively, some are requesting people make a pre-booked appointment or they are allowing 15-minute time slots on arrival without an appointment.

People will need to register, these details will be available on their visit.

To see the details of the garages and who to contact if booking is required, visit www.sussex.police.uk/police-forces/sussex-police/areas/campaigns/campaigns/free-catalytic-converter-marking.