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Suspect, 48, arrested after catalytic converter thefts

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A 999 call to police has led to the arrest of a 48-year-old man in connection with catalytic converter thefts.

Police said the suspect was arrested after “a member of the public followed our advice and called 999 after seeing a catalytic converter theft take place in Fen Ditton”.

As officers were dispatched to the area, a second 999 call came in from an eagle-eyed member of the public who spotted two men acting suspiciously in Stretham.

The officers found a car parked up suspiciously and a man made off on foot.

“Thanks to his footprints in the snow we found him hiding in a ditch,” said a police spokesperson.

“The vehicle was registered stolen, and several catalytic converters and tools were in the boot.”

The spokesperson added: “We continue to ask you to look out for catalytic converter theft.”

Police said the suspect was arrested after “a member of the public followed our advice and called 999 after seeing a catalytic converter theft take place in Fen Ditton”.

In Ely, one night recently, at least four taxis all parked up for the night had their catalytic converters stolen from their cars.

The estimated cost for replacement for a catalytic converted is up to £1,000, depending on the car and model.

Catalytic converters are found in the exhaust system of every car and reduce the output of toxic gases and pollutants.

Stealing them has become popular because they are not easily identifiable and can be sold on for the precious metals found inside them.

This year has seen a big increase in such thefts.

In July, and within one week, 23 catalytic converters were stolen in Cambridgeshire.

Police said the suspect was arrested after “a member of the public followed our advice and called 999 after seeing a catalytic converter theft take place in Fen Ditton”.

Thieves targeted vehicles parked in the Trumpington, Madingley and Longstanton Park and Ride sites, together with the Queen Anne car park in Cambridge and the car parks at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Page said: “This type of crime is extremely disruptive for the victims, and it is particularly despicable that these individuals have targeted cars at hospital car parks where people are attending for appointments or to visit a poorly relative or friend.

“Targeted patrols by dedicated officers are taking place, but we also need the public’s help.

“We would like to hear from anyone who was at any of those locations in the past week and may have noticed any suspicious behaviour or vehicles. We would also like to hear from anyone who may have information about who is stealing catalytic converters and where they are being sold.

“These offences are taking place in broad daylight. If you are using a public car park, business car park or a Park and Ride site please be aware of people jacking up vehicles or laying underneath them with a running vehicle parked nearby.

“Call us on 999 with descriptions of those involved and the make/model and registration number of the vehicle they are using.”

Between January 1 and October 25 there were 400 catalytic converter thefts in the south of the county (East Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire).

The force has also seen a 54 per cent increase in reported incidents over a three-year period, from 314 in 2019 and 470 in 2020 to 727 last year

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