TERRIFIED homeowners have issued an urgent warning after secret symbols used by burglars were scrawled on their walls.
Locals say the mysterious chalk marks showing a circle with a diagonal line were left on houses in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.
The symbols are often linked to burglaries and dog thefts with now “frightened” residents.
But they can also be left by the engineers to show that any potential issues have been checked.
Nick Taylor told Stoke-on-Trent Live: “I’ve heard people are doing it. It’s usually done for dogs.
“My doorbell picks up everyone who leaves my house, so I will check the images from my doorbell for anyone suspicious. I’ll keep an eye out and wash off the mark and look down the street. »
While 28-year-old Chelsea Coleman said: “It’s special. A lady messaged me a few weeks ago about people using chalk to mark houses.
“I’ve never seen anyone do it. I’m a little scared. I’ll just keep an eye out.
“Touch wood, we’ve lived here since 2005 and nothing but two bikes have been stolen in the last year. I work from home so I would see them if they tried to break in as I am home all the time.
“Maybe it’s just a utility company because it’s on almost every house. »
A graphic of symbols – known as the ‘Da Pinci Code’ – has gone viral after it apparently showed what the doodles mean.
This included an X for a “good target” and five circles revealing a wealthy owner.
But police were quick to debunk the so-called crook’s code and instead claimed the symbols were left behind by utility workers.
The Safeguarding Hub previously said: “Between us, we have a fairly deep knowledge of burglary. We spent many hours talking to distraught victims, visiting crime scenes and dealing with burglars.
“We have actually seen and experienced these symbols used by criminals. That’s not to say it’s a common practice among gangs of thieves, as most burglars work alone.
“We don’t want to scare people and we can say confidentially that the use of these symbols is very rare.
“But, if you’re a carer of an elderly or vulnerable person and you spot some weird markings outside their home, do you really want to dismiss it out of hand without making sure the symbol is legit? »
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Homeowners urgent warning as creepy secret symbol for burglars scrawled on wall – Reuters News in France and abroad