Keep safe

In this page we are consolidating advice that we regularly distribute via our e-Bulletin service about how to keep you and your household safe.  It is mainly information that we have received from the police.  We are showing it here as a point of reference once the e-Bulletin may have disappeared into the depths of your Inbox.  

The advice given here has long term value; we are not including details of any recent events as these will be detailed in our e-Bulletins soon after we are notified.

On this page:

  1. Help prevent Burglary
  2. Motor Vehicle Crime
  3. Catalytic Convertor Thefts- don't become a victim
  4. Be a vigilant neighbour
  5. Beware online Scams and Frauds

Julia welcomes reduction in 101 call waiting times - Police, Fire and Crime  Commissioner North Yorkshire

1.  Help prevent Burglary

There are a number of steps you can take to make your home less likely to be targeted by burglars. The advice from the police includes:

  • use timers on lights, radios and audio systems to come on when it gets dark:
  • change the rooms used and times to avoid predictability. This will make it look like you are in, even when you are out
  • install exterior lights to light up dark corners outside your home such as a system which can activate single or multiple lights when someone comes into its field of vision
  • keep plants and hedges trimmed: privacy for you is also privacy for the burglar
  • leave your front door and vehicle keys in a secure place out of sight and reach of your front door to prevent a potential burglar ‘fishing’ for the key through the letterbox
  • remove back door keys from locks and place them out of sight
  • use your key to lock your multi-point UPVC door otherwise it won’t be locked
  • always remember to keep doors and windows locked.
  • mark your possessions like a laptop, digital camera, jewellery and TVs with a property marking kit (available online)
  • keep a photographic library of your jewellery by photographing each piece next to a ruler to give an indication of size.

2.  Motor vehicle crime
Owners of all vehicles are recommended to take note of the following advice:

  • close your vehicle windows and sunroof; lock the doors and activate any security devices when leaving your car; double-check the doors are locked especially if using a remote key fob
  • remove all your property from inside your vehicle when it is parked including cash, credit cards, mobile phones, iPods, sunglasses,
  • shopping bags, vehicle documents and your Sat Nav and its holder
  • fit anti-tamper screws to protect your number plates (available from good motor retailers)
  • remove items such as ladders that you could take off your vehicle and put securely inside your property
  • garage your vehicle or park it in the driveway, if possible
  • alternatively park where the vehicle is well overlooked.

High Value car thefts
We are informed by the police that there have been a spate of burglaries recently in Sutton and Surrey where addresses are being targeted and burglaries are taking place solely to get the car keys from within the house for the high value vehicles parked outside.  Often Range Rovers.

Entry is forced and the car keys are then stolen along with the car and other valuables.  In other cases, there has been no theft of keys and it is suspected that some form of electronic key cloning has taken place where the vehicles that have been stolen have keyless entry and ignition systems.

The police offer the following advice:

  • Ensure to double lock all doors at night and when going out.
  • Remove all valuables from the vehicle and consider use a steering wheel lock and alarm
  • Keep car keys away from doors and windows and out of sight.
  • Keep keyless car keys (including spares), in a metal tin or signal blocking (Faraday) pouch.   The wireless signals on some keyless fobs can be turned off. The manual or manufacturer can advise further.
  • Consider fitting outdoor motion detector lighting and CCTV, and if you park on the street ensure it’s in an area that is well lit.
  • Consider etching the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identity Number, (VIN) (or registration) onto the windows, headlights and mirrors. This means anybody who tries to alter your vehicle’s identity will have a tougher job. As a deterrent, be sure to display the accompanying stickers in the windows.

3.  Catalytic Convertor theft - Don't become a victim

Catalytic convertor thefts are a national problem.  It is very hard for the police to catch someone in the act as the theft typically takes less that 2 minutes.

Following the successful conclusion of the Police's Operation Basswood last year which closed down the route by which thieves could get cash for stolen convertors, there had been lull in Catalytic Convertor thefts in our area.

Unfortunately in recent weeks thefts have begun to rise again.  And its not just our area that is being hit; the adjoining Surrey neighbourhood is also suffering.

However, it is important that you report any loss to the police so that they have a record of where the crimes are taking place and ensure that suitable priority is given to catching the thieves and closing down the channels they use to dispose of the stolen convertors.

Am I likely to have my Catalytic Convertor stolen?

If you have one of the vehicles in the following list, then the answer is Yes!

We strongly advise residents to take note of the crime prevention advice to protect yourself from being a victim of this crime, particularly if you own one of the commonly targeted vehicles.  National statistics show that the vehicles in the list below are often targeted and local crime statistics that have been supplied to us by the police reinforce this. 

You should take specific notice of the advice given below if you own one of these vehicles:

Prius (2004 - 2016)
Auris (2012 - 2018)
Plus other models but lower volume


Jazz (2002 - 2008)
CRV (2002 - 2006)
Accord (2002 - 2006)
Civic (2002 - 2005)
Honda models after 2008 are less likely to have their convertors stolen as Honda repositioned the convertors to be in the engine compartment and not under the vehicle.
All hybrid models but especially
RX 400h models (2005-2008)
Lexus CT 200h

1 Series
3 Series

Polo (older models)


These are not general statistics, these vehicles are being targeted in our area NOW.

If you own one of the above vehicles or you know of a friend or neighbour who does, please advise them to urgently take measure to protect themselves from becoming a victim of this crime.

If we can make it unattractive for the thieves to find vehicles to steal from, hopefully they will be discouraged from coming into our area.

Do I have a Catalytic Convertor on my car?
A number of members we have spoken to didn't know they have a Catalytic Convertor or thought that they would be stolen from expensive or modern vehicles.  In fact, nearly all cars on UK roads have a Catalytic Converter fitted.  Catalytic Converters have been fitted to the majority of petrol cars since 1992 and diesel cars since 2001.  Manufacturers are designing their newer models to make theft harder and consequently it is older vehicle that are getting hit.  Also don’t think that because you have had our convertor stolen once it won't be stolen again.  On the contrary, once thieves know you have had your vehicle repaired with a nice fresh convertor, you are likely to become a target again! 

What is the impact of having my Catalytic Convertor Stolen?
Apart from the unnerving experience of having thieves stealing from your car, the impact of the theft can be serious.  Vehicles cannot be driven legally without a Catalytic Convertor and their loss will be apparent from the noise the vehicle will make without one.  It is also dangerous to drive with a large section of your exhaust pipe missing!

The cost of replacing your Convertor can be significant.  Catalytic Convertors can cost in excess of £1000 to replace (including fitting) and some insurers are writing off older vehicles as the repair cost can exceed the market value of the vehicle.  You should check your insurance policy to see if your Catalytic Convertor is covered and also whether the policy covers a hire vehicle while yours is being repaired.  Remember, as highlighted above, your vehicle cannot be driven until the Convertor is replaced and Convertors for some models are in short supply meaning your vehicle could be out of use for a considerable time.

How can I protect myself from having my Catalytic Convertor Stolen?
To reduce the risk of your catalytic convertor being stolen:

  • Park with the side of the vehicle where the catalytic convertor is located next to a kerb to make access harder. 
  • Park in as well-lit areas where possible.  
  • Do NOT park half on the pavement as this makes it easier for thieves to get underneath your vehicle.
  • Park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public car parks. This leaves your vehicle in a location where many people can see it.  
  • If you have a garage use it and keep it locked.  
  • Consider CCTV if your vehicle is parked on your driveway or a RING-type device.  
  • Adjust the security system on your car or have one installed that will activate upon vibration, such as those produced by a saw.  
  • Install a catalytic converter-specific security device, such as ‘ARMACAT’ or ‘CATLOC’ - 
  • Consider ID Etching - Etching a catalytic converter with a serial number will help police track a stolen converter and overtly advertising that a vehicle is protected by property marking may also deter offenders as it will potentially reduce the opportunities for selling on the converters at reputable scrap metal dealers. More information on ID etching can be found at 
  • Consider welded bolts - If a catalytic converter is a ‘bolt on’ it is possible to have the bolts welded shut. This is only a deterrent to the lowest grade of catalytic converter thief working with a wrench but may still be enough of a deterrent to help prevent a theft. 

Statistics show that Toyota/ Lexus vehicles are particularly vulnerable and owners are advised to contact their local dealer to see what measures they can offer to make theft more difficult.

See also

What do I do if my Catalytic Convertor is stolen?
If you see a Catalytic Convertor being stolen, call 999 immediately.  This may be on your driveway, in the road or in a car park.  Be suspicious of anyone jacking up a vehicle in a public place, even if they are wearing Hi-Viz jackets and look official.

 By all means shout at them from a safe distance, but do not attempt to take them on.  Photos we have seen show the gang having a lookout equipped with a heavy metal bar! 

A theft typically takes less than 2 minutes so it is unlikely that the police will arrive in time to catch them.  But try to take note of the details of their vehicle and its registration number and give this to the police when they arrive.

If the theft occurred some time before, you should still report the crime either by calling 101 or online at:

This will enable the police to see the full extent of Catalytic Convertor thefts and ensure that catching the thieves is given suitable priority.

 If you have information or possibly video images that you think may be relevant to catching the thieves, we suggest that you email it to your local Safer Neighbourhood Team and ask them to add it to the relevant crime report.

 If you are unlucky enough to suffer a loss, then inform your insurance company as quickly as possible.

4.  Be a vigilant neighbour
You are likely to know your street and the movements of your local neighbours, such as when your next door neighbour’s home is likely to be occupied and when it’s likely to be empty. Call the police on 999 immediately if you:

  • see anyone you don’t recognise acting suspiciously near your own or your neighbours’ properties
  • hear an unexpected loud bang or series of bangs or smashing glass from next door when you know the owners are at work or away.

If it doesn’t look right, or feel right, call the police on 999 immediately. They would rather come out to find that everything is OK, than to find a resident distressed because they have become a victim of crime. When you see people acting suspiciously try to:

  • take a description of the suspects
  • make a note of any vehicle they are using, such as its make and
  • registration number.

Please don’t assume that someone else will call the police. Help keep you area safe by calling the police yourself.

Remember, if something is happening RIGHT NOW ring 999.  If something has happened in the past that you would like to report, but there is no-one present on the scene, then ring 101.

If you want to report a crime but do not need urgent assistance you can also do this online by clicking here.

5.  Beware of online Scams and Frauds 
Action Fraud is warning the public to take extra care when shopping online as reports of online shopping fraud have continued to surge. Here are some simple tips to help you and your family enjoy a secure online shopping experience.

Where to shop
Buying from an online store you haven’t used before?  Carry out some research first, or ask a friend or family member if they’ve used the site and about their experiences before completing the purchase.

Your information
Only create an account if necessary or to save you effort if you’re going to use that site a lot in the future. Be cautious if the website asks you for details that are not required for your purchase, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your primary school.

Payment method
When it's time to pay for your items, check there's a 'closed padlock' icon in the browser's address bar.  Use a credit card (not a debit card) when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases.

Some of the messages you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites. 
If you’re unsure about a link, don’t use the it – go separately to the website. 
Report suspicious emails you receive by forwarding them to:
Report suspicious text messages by forwarding them to: 7726.

Email accounts
Make sure that your really important accounts (such as your email account or online shopping accounts) are protected by strong passwords that you don't use anywhere else.

If things go wrong
If you've lost money to an online shopping scam, tell your bank and report it as a crime to Action Fraud (

By doing this, you'll be helping to prevent others becoming victims of cyber crime.