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Man assaulted as he tried to stop thieves

Thursday, 16th December 2010.

The owner of a van was assaulted when he tried to stop thieves from making off with its catalytic coverter in Sainsbury's car park in Haverhill last night.

The incident is the latest in a spate of such thefts in this part of Suffolk and police are appealing to motorists to be vigilant about their vehicles.

The incident happened between 8.05pm and 8.15pm when two men removed the catalytic converter from a white Iveco van.

They were loading it into a dark blue Toyota MR2 when they were disturbed by the van’s owners.

The male van owner tried to stop the men driving away and was assaulted. He suffered a cut to his leg.

The first offender is described as white, in his early 20s and was wearing a hat. The second man is described as white, in his 40s, with grey hair and was wearing a hat.

Anyone with any information about this incident should call PC Rebecca Molisso at Haverhill Police on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Seventeen catalytic coverter thefts have been reported to police from the Ipswich (6), Haverhill (4), Sudbury (6) and Bury St Edmunds (1) areas since December 1st. In the previous fortnight only three such thefts were reported (all in Bury).

The catalytic converters have been removed from utility vehicles and vans parked in a variety of locations, from car parks and driveways to lay-bys or in the street.

Crime reduction officer Bernard Plume has the following advice -
• Private vehicles should be kept in a well-secured garage where possible, and if no garage is available, in a well-lit, public area.
• Vehicles can be parked in such a way as to make access to the catalytic converter difficult, or parallel with another vehicle if you own one.
• Commercial vehicles should also be kept in a locked building or compound.
• Use alarms, lighting and CCTV to deter thieves.
• Catalytic converters can be marked with etching or UV pens, and with SmartWater, which is an invisible liquid with a unique formula that forensically proves where the marked item comes from.

Suffolk Police works with scrap metal dealers across the county and officers visit yards to ensure checks are made on all metals brought to the sites for sale, and that any suspicious items or persons are reported.

Any people or vehicles seen suspiciously around other vehicles should be reported to police on 01473 613500. Dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

Haverhill Online News

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