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Man arrested in connection with numerous catalytic converter thefts in South West

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

Police in Devon have arrested and charged a man with a number of thefts of catalytic converters across the South West.

Tony Small, 29 and from Hereford, was arrested on July 4 and following interview was charged with six offences of theft of catalytic converters, including two in Devon & Cornwall.

He subsequently appeared before Yate Magistrates Court on September 20 where he pleaded guilty to the thefts and asked for a further 97 offences to be taken in consideration.

He will be sentenced tomorrow (Friday, October 12) at Yate Magistrates Court.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: "Thefts of ‘Cats’ has become common place across the UK in recent times due to the high value of the precious metals that they contain.

"Over the past few months a number of offences have occurred within the Exeter, East & Mid Devon area and as a result officers in Honiton commenced an investigation.

"The arrest of Small followed one particular offence which occurred in Cullompton in June of this year when a catalytic converter was stolen from a Peugeot van.

"Following forensic examination DNA evidence was recovered from the vehicle which identified Small, as a suspect.

"He was further linked to another theft, also in Cullompton on the same day.

"He was subsequently arrested and charged with both offences and four further thefts in Bristol.

"However officers from the Local Investigation Team in Exeter, East & Mid Devon continued their investigation and worked hard to link the suspect to other offences.

"By utilising ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) data they placed Small at the scene of numerous further offences.

"Further ANPR work in conjunction with the neighbouring Avon & Somerset force led to Small, being linked with other thefts.

"As a result, Small admitted a further 33 offences of theft in the Exeter, East & Mid Devon areas, 10 offences on British Transport premises at Tiverton Parkway and a further 55 offences in the Avon & Somerset area."

Police Constable Roy Hutter, the officer leading the case, said: "This investigation highlights the extent of metal thefts and the benefits of good cross border police liaison in tackling this type of crime.

"The success of this investigation followed good co-ordination between forces."

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