A LARGE quantity of catalytic converters worth an estimated £150,000 have been stolen from a recycling yard in Carmarthenshire.
They were taken, along with power tools, from Ammanford Recycling Ltd, off Shands Road, Ammanford, in the early hours of Monday, May 3.
Catalytic converters form part of a car’s exhaust system and contain high-value metals, such as platinum and rhodium. Surging prices for these metals have been accompanied by a rise in thefts.
Ammanford Recycling director Richard Safadi said security images from the premises appear to show people breaking in at the rear and then spending hours inside.
Mr Safadi is offering a £3,000 reward for information which results in a conviction, and has made changes on site to reduce the risk of such an incident happening again.
He said catalytic converter thefts were “rife within the industry”.
He said: “It’s now become an epidemic.”
Prices for catalytic converters, he said, ranged from £50 up to £800 or £900, depending on the car.
Mr Safadi said Ammanford Recycling was big enough to be able to recover from the loss, which he estimated at £150,000 for the catalytic converters.
This wouldn’t have been the case, he said, for smaller firms.
“It could have put a lot of boys out of work – that’s the sad thing,” said Mr Safadi. “They have no regard for other people.
“We have invested a lot of money in this business over the last two years – this just puts you back.”
Dyfed-Powys Police said the incident was reported by Ammanford Recycling early on Tuesday, May 4, after the bank holiday.
“They reported someone having entered their property in the early hours of Monday, May 3,” said a police spokesman. “Taken was a large quantity of catalytic converters and power tools.”
Research from the RAC and insurance group Ageas last month indicated that catalytic converter crime accounted for 30% of thefts from vehicles in the UK, up from 20% before the pandemic.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Drivers are often oblivious of their vehicle’s catalytic converter being stolen. Our patrols are often called to attend cars that have suddenly become excessively noisy.
“On investigation it’s very often the case that the car’s catalytic converter has been stolen.”