Chilling street markings burglars use to target homes appearing on houses in UK

Terrified homeowners say they are finding secret 'burglar symbols' outside their houses.

The mysterious chalk markings have left residents worried after appearing on properties around Fenton in Stoke-on-Trent, reports StokeOnTrentLive.

Concerns have grown that these houses are being 'marked' because their owners have expensive dogs — a lucrative market for thieves which has boomed in recent years.

Previous reports in other parts of the country have led to some speculating on a so-called 'Da Pinci Code', with some signs reportedly meaning 'nothing worth stealing', 'wealthy' and 'vulnerable female'.

Another more benign explanation for the strange emblems is their use by utility workers, who are also known to leave signs on walls to indicate an area has been inspected for possible issues like a gas leak, or to signal where a water pipe is located.

One anxious mum named Libby Dallimore, 35, reported the strange markings in Stoke on social media last week.

She wrote in a post: "We have a O and Vl outside our house and the neighbour's have X X. No dogs either side so assuming it's not to do with potential dog-napping but perhaps targeting for burglaries. Similar markings spotted on the terrace houses further down."

The Safeguarding Hub, a UK organisation which shares home protection advice, previously said that while most burglars work alone and actual use of the symbols was "very rare", they have "actually seen and experienced these symbols being used by criminals."

They added: "If you are a caregiver to an elderly or vulnerable person and spot strange marks outside their home, do you really want to dismiss it out of hand without just ensuring that the symbol is legitimate?"

Staffordshire Police has told residents to report any unusual markings on the non-emergency number 101 or via social media, but has not confirmed any connection between the symbols and any reported burglaries.

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