Police have issued a warning to homeowners claiming that burglars are using a code to target the rich and vulnerable.
Officers in Lanarkshire and West Yorkshire believe they have uncovered a series of coded chalk symbols on walls and pavements – dubbed the 'Da Pinchi Code' - which criminals are using to send secret messages to burglars.
“Breaking the Housebreaker's code. These signs have been seen in East Kilbride, please retweet & report all sightings,” the Scottish constabulary tweeted.
The eight codes cracked by police officers include ‘the people living here are vulnerable’ and ‘this place is alarmed’
Breaking the Housebreaker's Code - If you see any of these signs tell the police and the householder & please retweet pic.twitter.com/FyoB8K9hPg— HamiltonPolice (@HamiltonPol) April 18, 2014
Other chilling symbols include the shape of an open book, which means a vulnerable female resident is the occupant, while interlocking squares indicate a homeowner who is 'nervous and afraid'.
A previous list of symbols was published by West Yorkshire Police’s Facebook page for Pontefract and Knottingley, urging residents to report any chalk signs.
“If you see any unusual markings on your home, low rise walls, pavement, kerbs or bins, take a photo, remove them and contact us,” the message read.
Cowboy builders have also been found to use a similar criminal code. In January, an elderly couple in Devon were confused when tradesmen kept knocking on their door.
It soon emerged that a rogue builder who previously paved their drive had left a code in a pattern of blocks to tip off other cowboy traders that the owners were a vulnerable target.
He disappeared before the work was completed – but not before overcharging them by £4,000 and leaving a distinctive squared pattern in the middle of the driveway.
The homeowners hadn’t asked for a pattern to be included, but thought nothing of it – until a series of tradesmen began to call round, all offering work the house didn’t need.
In response to Lanarkshire Police’s ‘housebreaker code warning’ Louise Noteboom said on Facebook: “Maybe everyone should draw the circle with the cross thru (sic) it to say nothing worth stealing. Put it on their property just to confuse them?”
No such advice has been issued by issued by police at this stage.
Have you come across either the cowboy buiders or burglars code? Let us know in the Comments below.