Hackney raids target alleged catalytic converter stealing network

The contents of a storage container intercepted on the Essex coast. 

The contents of a storage container intercepted on the Essex coast. - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Morning raids in Hackney have led to the discovery of metal and catalytic converters allegedly stolen from vehicles.

Up to 150 officers executed eight simultaneous rapid entry warrants at neighbouring properties in Millfields Road in Lower Clapton on March 23, as part of a police operation spanning east London, Kent and the Essex coast.

The Met's Dog Section and National Policing Air Support unit were also in attendance at the Clapton raids, targeting what police believe to be a criminal network fueling an increase in catalytic converter thefts across the capital.

Det Ch Insp James Stanyer, the Met’s Lead Officer for Motor Vehicle Crime, said: "The intelligence gathered during this investigation will ultimately lead to more proactive work to prevent this crime and bring those involved in it to face the consequences of their actions.”

Catalytic converters can be found on most modern vehicles in London and contain precious metals, meaning they have a high scrap metal value and can cost anywhere between £150 to over £1,000. 

Police say, the car parts are often shipped overseas after being stolen and previous metals are removed and refined. 

Officers also attended a metal processing plant in Hackney and discovered tens of catalytic converters believed stolen, as well as a smelting machine.

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Quantities of alleged stolen metal were also found, which police say could have originated from railways and telecommunications masts.

The wider operation saw 300 police officers take part in the raids with support from the Government Agency Intelligence Network and the British Transport Police. 

Two men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit theft of catalytic converters and another man was arrested on suspicion of committing over 25 thefts of catalytic converters.

Over 18 catalytic converters were recovered over all the raided sites alongside tools such as an angle grinder, car jack and reciprocal saw from one vehicle at an east London address. 

Officers also seized thousands of worth of alleged stolen vehicles, around fifty thousand pounds in cash and a quantity of drugs. They seized nine vehicles from the site in east London for using falsified license plates.

Enquiries continue, with police working to arrest more people in connection with the alleged criminal network.

Find out more about catalytic converter theft at www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/keeping-vehicles-safe/vehicle-safe-and-sound