A Leeds manufacturing company has designed and built a new alarm system to combat the growing problem of catalytic converter theft.
The theft of catalytic converters from the exhaust systems of vehicles occurs as they contain a small amount of precious metals that are used to remove hazardous gases, it is because of these metals, that converters, when sold, can fetch up to £200.
Vehicles currently being targeted are mainly commercial, light commercial, 4x4s and campervans and is rapidly becoming a major problem in the UK, as it already is in the USA. It involves not only individuals, but also increasingly, organized crime gangs.
John Hicken, product development director of Secure Micro Solutions (SMS), the Leeds company behind the new alarm system, said: "We were aware of the growing theft of catalytic converters from vehicles and the significant inconvenience and cost that this causes drivers, and wanted to produce an alarm system that would withstand an attack and ward off thieves.
"A vehicle off the road is a vehicle that is costing money and whether you are a large fleet owner or a self-employed individual this is time and money you can little afford. Down-time for repairs, liaising with insurance companies and potential loss of no claims caused by the theft of catalytic converters can be a major headache and expensive. ProCatt 3 combats this."
SMS was made aware of the problem of catalytic converter theft through Thatcham 12 months ago. The company set about developing a stand-alone anti-tamper alarm system that would meet the centre’s rigorous testing criteria.
"After extensive development and testing, ProCatt 3 was passed and is currently the only product on the market that has gained this coveted accreditation and is an approved Secured By Design product run by the Association of Chief Police Officers."
Damage caused to the vehicle whilst attempting this theft, if unnoticed, could put the driver at serious risk as break pipes or fuel lines could have been compromised, this alarm, once triggered, has visible warning lights in the cab so the driver knows that an attack has taken place and can check under the vehicle before setting off.
Car, van and campervan dealers are seeing a rise in thefts from their forecourts due to the high density of parked vehicles.
Procatt 3 can be fitted to any vehicle with any size of catalytic converter and is fitted to the exhaust by means of two smart technology detection sensors ( STDS ) activated when an attempt is made to remove the converter, a bonnet alarm ensures no access can be gained to the engine compartment, offering further protection.
The alarm is powered from the vehicle battery, and with its own integrated battery backup ensures no loss of power in case of disconnection. SMS says due to the unique “plug and go“ design this does not interfere with any hard wiring and so causes no issues with manufacturer’s warranty. It is suitable for 12 or 24 volt batteries.