NHS staff targeted as they work by thieves

Catalytic converters were stolen from hospital workers' cars. Pictured inset is PC Vicky Bailey of Norfolk Constabulary

Catalytic converters were stolen from hospital workers' cars. Pictured inset is PC Vicky Bailey of Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: James Lynskey/Norfolk Constabulary

Hospital workers returned from a gruelling shift to find valuable parts had been snatched from their cars. 

Thieves removed catalytic converters from three Honda Jazz vehicles parked in the University of East Anglia's Triangle Car Park on Tuesday. 

People have recently been urged by police to be extra vigilant after a big rise in the thefts of catalytic convertors in Norfolk

An extraordinary rise in the price of the precious metals contained within catalytic converters means they have become a valuable commodity for thieves.

Still from from a YouTube video showing the apparent theft of a catalytic converter

Still from from a YouTube video showing the apparent theft of a catalytic converter from a Honda. - Credit: YouTube

James Lynskey, 50, who works at the hospital, was among those whose cars was targeted around 5.15pm on Tuesday. 

Mr Lynskey said: "It is a very organised gang that must be going around cutting the catalytic converters off. This has been done with relative precision with no damage anywhere else to the car. 

"I left a note on the window of a car belonging to a nurse who had also been targeted. She got back to her car after a 12 hour shift to find the exhaust had been cut off and stolen.

"She called for recovery who did not arrive until 9.30pm after she had got back to the car at 7.15pm. It is not a nice position to be in."

A catalytic converter was stolen from hospital worker James Lynskey's Honda Jazz 

A catalytic converter was stolen from hospital worker James Lynskey's Honda Jazz - Credit: James Lynskey

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Mr Lynskey intends to repair his car himself using scrap parts. 

"I bought the parts online for just over £200 but you are looking at £1,000 if you went through a garage," Mr Lynskey said.

"Fortunately my wife works at the hospital so I was able to get a lift with her but I had to change my hours for next week. I will be getting the bus now instead." 

There were 394 catalytic converter thefts in Norfolk in 2020, more than a threefold increase on the previous 12 months.

PC Vicky Bailey of Norfolk Constabulary said: “The premium metals contained within catalytic converters can be of particular value to thieves." 

PC Vicky Bailey

PC Vicky Bailey. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A spokesman for the UEA said: “We are aware of the theft and helping the police with their investigation. There are already a number of safety measures in place at the car park, including CCTV of the area.”

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity or those with information related to catalytic converter theft should contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101, or call 999 if you believe a crime is in progress. 

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.