Van convertor thefts will cost £20,000

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A furniture retailer will have to pay £20,000 after catalytic convertors were stolen from ten of its vans.

The theft happened at the House of Dreams’ warehouse in Gatwick Road, Manor Royal, overnight on Saturday (January 10).

The convertors are normally stolen to be sold as scrap metal for the precious metals they contain.

Tony Wingate, House of Dreams head of distribution, said the Mercedes Sprinter vans were new and their convertors were bought specifically because they contained no precious metals.

He said: “These ones we purchased specifically because there are no precious metals, however, I don’t think we can rely on the black market to understand that straight away and we were victim of that on Sunday.”

Ten out of 12 of its vans, which were delivered shortly before Christmas, at the site were targeted on the one night of the week the site was not used.

Mr Wingate said paying external contractors and hiring private vans to complete the business’ delivery orders following the theft would cost the business around £15,000.

He said the repair costs to the vans would total around £4,000 and added it was likely the company would install security systems on the site.

On the effect similar thefts could have on attracting business to the town, he said: “It would possibly discourage it.

“It just results in additional costs to any business that comes in.”

Mr Wingate said the post-Christmas period had been busy for Dreams in Crawley.

The town’s road and air transport links made it a “particularly busy”.