UK cities where catalytic converter theft is most common

London had the most catalytic converter thefts in the last three years, while Warrington experienced the most dramatic rise.

The theft of catalytic converters continues to rise across the UK, with the number of devices being stolen increasing six-fold in the last year alone, according to a new study by Compare The Market.

With prices of precious metals on the up, criminals are taking more catalytic converters in order to get these materials.

Hybrid cars have been a particular focus for criminals, with their lower emissions resulting in less-corroded metals in the catalytic converters.

There has been more than 15,000 catalytic converter thefts in London in the last three years – a whopping 12,000 of those coming in the last 12 months alone.

Birmingham had the second-most with 320, and nearby Coventry had 287 in the same three-year period.

Cambridge and Luton rounded out the top five, with 166 and 101 thefts in the last three years respectively.

The top 10 towns and cities with the most catalytic converter thefts


In terms of the biggest increase, Warrington had one theft in 2017-18, and one in 2018-19, but in the last year the North West town was the site of 28 catalytic converter thefts in the last year. That represents a year-on-year increase of 2700 percent.

Wolverhampton had the second-biggest increase, going from four thefts in 2018-19 to 63 over the last year – an increase of 1475 percent. Midlands neighbour Coventry rose from 31 to 233 – a 652 percent rise – with Middlesbrough (a 633 percent rise) and Cambridge (a 610 percent rise) rounding out the top five in terms of increases in catalytic converter thefts.

The top ten towns and cities with the biggest increase in catalytic converter thefts


"These statistics are high and the value of the metals within catalytic converters has gone up significantly, resulting in a car part which was previously of little interest to thieves suddenly becoming very valuable, which explains the spikes," said Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at

"For those who are worried about falling victim to this type of theft, try parking your car in a way which would make it difficult for thieves to slide under the car to access the catalytic converter. There are also anti-theft devices you can buy and fit to your car to prevent unwanted attention.

"A comprehensive car insurance policy should also cover you if your car has become a victim of the trend, but it’s best to check with your provider to make sure, especially if you live in a higher risk area."