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National initiative launches to prevent, deter and detect catalytic converter theft

31st May 2022

SmartWater Group has today announced a police-backed, national scheme to tackle catalytic converter theft. Drivers will be able to have their catalytic converters marked with a unique, invisible and unremovable solution that has been proven to deter thieves and help police identify stolen property.

The introduction of the scheme follows the success of an initiative led by the Home Office funded National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership and supported by ToyotaUK and SmartWater, which achieved a 57% reduction in catalytic converter theft. Greater accessibility is now being enabled with the support of aftermarket partners, such as MOT test stations, garages and dealerships, who are invited to come on board.

As an authorised registration centre, MOT stations and other aftermarket companies gain an additional revenue stream through marking and registering their customers’ catalytic converters. Meanwhile, car owners gain the peace of mind that comes with having their vehicles protected by SmartWater and their catalytic converter recorded on a ‘National Asset Database’.

The process is simple and can be carried out as an additional service to an MOT or regular vehicle servicing. With the vehicle on the ramp, SmartWaterHT, a special SmartWater high temperature product, is applied directly to the catalytic converter and the unique formula reference number is logged on the database against the vehicle registration number. Deterrent labels are also affixed to the vehicle, sending out a powerful warning to would-be thieves.

The ‘National Asset Database’ is operated by the SmartWater Group’s Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection (CIAP) on behalf of the police, ensuring that any marked catalytic converters, once recovered, can be identified and traced back to the specific vehicle they were taken from. 

This method is far more effective than the impression of serial numbers, which can be seen and easily removed by criminals, as the technology is invisible to the naked eye and only glows yellow under UV light. SmartWaterHT is almost impossible to remove and any attempt results in thieves’ clothing, tools and location being contaminated with incriminating evidence.

Gary Higgins, Chief Operations Officer, added, “There is clear appetite within the UK automotive market for a simple and easy solution to combat vehicle crime. SmartWaterHT is a highly-proven deterrent to criminals and rogue scrap metal dealers as it makes stolen parts too hot to handle. I believe that, together with the support of garages, service centres and the police, we can continue to drive down this crime and create a better and safer society for all.”

Police Support

Superintendent Mark Cleland, British Transport Police and National Metal Crime Tactical Lead comments: “Thanks to the support of the Home Office in creating the NICRP, our joint work with SmartWater and other industry partners, and the drive by enforcement partners across the UK, we have made a real impact in tackling metal and catalytic converter crime.”

“It is the preventative approach through the forensic marking of catalytic converters that gives motorists the opportunity to protect their property and stop the crime in the first place.”

Any MOT, auto service centre or car dealership interested in being appointed as a Registration Centre should visit -

Notes to editors:

  1. Link to police announcement of 57% reduction in catalytic converter theft: Link to PR
  2. CIAP currently has approximately 30m items of property registered on the National Asset Database and has undertaken to allow police free access to the data in support of a criminal prosecution. 
  3. SmartWater will provide the police with free forensic analysis of suspected stolen property together with expert testimony in Court. 
  4. SmartWater is the only forensic system of its type that is compliant with the Government’s Forensic Science Regulator’s Codes of Practice and the police have used the product in the past to secure convictions against some of the UK’s most serious criminal offenders. 


About The SmartWater Group 

The SmartWater Group is an award-winning risk management company that uses proprietary technology-based solutions to deliver material cost savings for clients operating nationally in the infrastructure, construction, vacant property and other sectors, across a range of security products and services.

Working in partnership with the police, trade associations and clients, we have unique access to closed source data and, using our proprietary crime data intelligence portal, can predict the movement of Organised Crime Gangs (OCG). This enables us to provide ‘early alerts’ of increased security threats, allowing our clients to target their security resources in a more efficient manner.

If the OCG transits across a region, the security risk will shift also, so we are uniquely positioned to be able to offer Clients a range of temporary security measures – all proven, powerful crime deterrents.

Press Contact
Holly Kinsell
Say Communications for SmartWater Group

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