Thieves move to North East; police in exhausting search

The gang who have been making mischief this year in Manchester and Oxford stealing entire exhaust systems have moved on again, this time taking to the North East, van insurance experts are warning. As such, they are recommending all tradesmen and professional van drivers lock up their vans securely wherever possible.

Tip: for those drivers who do not declare that they have safe premises to their brokers could be missing a trick. Particularly in renowned postcode areas, having secure premises can significantly increase a drivers chances of securing cheap van insurance.

There is further insight into why the exhaust systems are being stolen, however. In a recent article following the thefts in other areas of the country it was assumed that the metal was the commodity that the thieves were after. However, a statement from the Cleveland police reveals a different motive.

Since the beginning of the year, Greater London has been a low-emission zone, whereby anyone driving within the ‘LEZ’ is subject to £100 per day fines if there CO2 emissions level is higher than Euro III legislation permits. The theory being explored by Cleveland police following the latest breakins and exhaust thefts now is that certain models of vans have catalytic converters which would bring otherwise non-compliant vehicles below the minimum accepted emission level.

To date, commercial vehicle insurers have looked kindly upon van drivers who are attempting to go green. Reducing emissions in this manner is just one of the ways to achieve a smaller carbon footprint.  These criminal actions will have the adverse affect on those van owners affected in the North who will more than likely see their once-cheap van insurance premiums increase as a result of claiming for replacement exhaust systems and the additional cost for them being fitted.

One local businessman who has had two Merc Sprinter vans robbed of their exhausts is convinced that the destination for the DPF particle filters is the capital. Whilst he was having his vehicles repaired the mechanics confirmed to him that there had been several instances of this type of theft recently. He even went on to say he’d heard unconfirmed reports that one organisation had seventeen of its fleet’s exhausts taken.

Cleveland police are investigating three similar offences, involving break-ins to get at the exhausts, reported over the course of the last few days. To date, they have had little success, but have not yet exhausted all lines of enquiry.

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