Criminals are using a secret code to communicate with one another - to identify the homes that they consider the best targets for other thieves. Lanarkshire police has issued details of the code - nicknamed the Da Pinchi Code - to help people identify whether their home as been marked out by criminals.
At first glance they may look like graffiti squiggles, but they can have a number of meanings. Some of them are designed to put other crooks off. There's one that shows that a house has a burglar alarm, another which states that the property is too risky to steal from, and one that says there's nothing worth taking. Others highlight good targets, vulnerable occupants, and wealthy households.
Lanarkshire officers tweeted the code, after finding some crosses on sheds in the East Kilbride area. They encouraged anyone who has seen them on their house to contact them on the non-emergency 101 number.
Reactions to the tweet include a number of people who believe the marks are those left by people working in the street and marking off underground features. They argue that the police have been duped by an urban myth.
One pointed out a similar story from 2006 when a local group of residents had distributed a leaflet with the same kinds of symbols on it - to which the West Midlands Police had said they weren't aware of any criminals using the markings.
However, this isn't the first force to warn people about the code. In 2013 Manchester police sent leaflets to homeowners in Salford explaining the code that was being used in the area at the time. In the same year, Devon police spotted the symbols on a home in Walkden and distributed leaflets locally warning people to keep an eye out for them.
As far back as 2009, Surrey Police issued pictures of the symbols and urged people watch for them around their property, after they were spotted on a house locally.
But what do you think? Does this strike you as an urban myth? Or are enough police forces sending out the warnings to persuade you there's something in the Da Pinchi Code? Let us know in the comments.
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