Catalytic converter thefts reduced by 57 percent, new tech being rolled out to MOT garages

Catalytic Converter: How the device helps reduce emissions

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Thefts peaked in March 2021, with 3,245 recorded in the UK that month, but have steadily declined since, with 1,378 recorded in July. A surge in the price of precious metals saw theft of catalytic converters become a national issue earlier this year, and police across the UK joined forces to combat the trend.

The new technology from SmartWater has heavily influenced the drop in thefts.

Unlike the etching of serial numbers, which can be clearly seen by the criminals and removed easily by simply scrapping with a screwdriver, SmartWater is invisible to the naked eye, but glows yellow under UV light.

Any attempt to scrape it off by the criminal risks spreading incriminating evidence onto their clothes, tools and location.

SmartWater scientists only need a speck to identify which vehicle the components belong to.

Around 30 percent of all UK car thefts are geared towards stealing catalytic converters, as market prices for precious metals continue to rise. 

A simple, cost-effective, 10-minute process, which any garage could offer customers, is now available to deter these crimes.

With the vehicle on the ramp, a special SmartWater high temperature product is applied with a brush and the unique formula reference number is logged on the database against the vehicle registration number.

Phil Cleary, CEO and co-founder of SmartWater, spoke about the general rollout of the new technology to garages and when that could occur.


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Speaking exclusively to, he said: “It’s a 10-minute process to actually register the mark, so to say to the car owner, ‘look you’re getting this work done, why not’.

“It’ll be down to the individual MOT station to set the price, and then you can get your catalytic converter protected.

“August is a bad month. You know, people on holiday and stuff like that so we’ll be talking to the industry straight and seeking their views but will be pushing it out in September formally.

“We have a number of major nationals (garages) who are already interested in becoming partners.

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