OWNERS of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans are warned of an increase of thefts of exhaust systems and catalytic converters.

Figures released by Gwent Police reveal the number of incidents logged which involved this type of vehicle in October was 24.

The cases came from across the Gwent region, with the majority reported in Caerphilly (11), followed by Newport (10).

The remaining three incidents involved two cases in Blaenau Gwent and a single crime in Torfaen.

“We have seen a rapid increase in theft of exhaust systems from Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, in the west of Gwent (Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen) with 14 reported thefts from October 12,” said Blackwood and Risca inspector Carl Williams.

“Catalytic converters are composed of several metals, some include small amounts of precious metals such as platinum and palladium making them a target for criminals.”

The police are currently looking into each single incident across the Gwent boroughs, and have reminded owners of these vans to remain on guard for possible thefts.

“We are currently investigating each reported crime and asking owners of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans to secure their vehicles and remain alert,” added Inspector Williams.

The police have issued seven key points to Sprinter van owners which will may help to prevent cases of exhaust system and catalytic converter thefts.

These include the marking of property, the use of welded bolts, protective sleeves for catalytic converters, defensive parking, effective security lighting and CCTV and perimeter security.

“The offences are generally taking place overnight and within the hours of darkness,” said Newport West Inspector Neil Muirhead.

“Officers are currently looking for your support and help by reporting any suspicious activity immediately or if you have any information on the above crimes, please contact 101, quoting the log number.”