Three men were arrested on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters after Kent Police carried out several early morning warrants.
The search warrants, which were carried out on Tuesday 23 March 2021, are part of an ongoing investigation into the organised theft of catalytic converters, which Kent Police is investigating alongside the Metropolitan Police and Essex Police.
They have all been released on bail, pending further enquiries, until 13 April.
Kent Police also assisted with a search of a shipping container on the Essex coast.
It contained suspected stolen metal and car parts which were due to be transported to the Ivory Coast.
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Detective Chief Inspector Matt Talboys, from Kent Police’s Chief Constable’s Crime Squad, said: ‘Working alongside our partners, we are relentlessly pursuing people who we believe are involved in an organised conspiracy to steal catalytic converters.
‘Victims are often targeted indiscriminately and we don’t underestimate the impact this can have on their daily lives, on top of the often expensive repair bills.
‘Motorists can be assured that we are following every available line of enquiry to proactively identify and target suspects.
‘We also carry out regular patrols in areas that we believe may be targeted and work closely with scrap metal dealers to identify potential suspects.’
There are a number of steps vehicle owners can take to reduce their chances of being targeted.
This includes contacting the manufacturer of their car as many companies sell clamps and security cages that are known to deter thieves.
It is also possible to security-mark and register the metal shell of the converter so that it can be returned to its rightful owner if it is stolen and recovered.
Further advice includes parking your vehicle in a garage or a busy, well-lit area. If feasible, homeowners can also give consideration to installing good quality CCTV cameras.