The 'Da Pinchi Code': Fresh warning over chilling chalk symbols burglars use to scope out victims

The markings are a variety of boxes, lines and shapes which show whether a house is worth breaking in to

Homeowners have received a fresh warning over a set of chilling chalk symbols which burglars use to scope out potential victims.

The markings, dubbed 'the Da Pinchi Code' are a variety of boxes, lines and shapes which show whether a house is worth breaking in to.

Drawn in chalk on the side of peoples' houses, they pinpoint vulnerable householders, houses with 'nothing worth stealing', or nervous homeowners.

Other shapes are thought to denote houses with a burglar alarm, or those which are deemed 'too risky to target'.

An 'x' shape simply means 'good target', while five circles shows that the owners of the house are wealthy.

A box with three lines, a circle, and a triangle in one corner shows that the property has been burgled before.

Two diagonal boxes together shows that the home contains a vulnerable female.

A D-shaped box with a short line through it shows that the home is deemed 'too risky' to enter.

The symbols have been known to police for several years, but have come to police attention again recently when they were spotted on a home in Walkden, Salford.

Greater Manchester Police said they carried out inquiries when one of the symbols appeared on the side of an elderly woman's home.

Chief Insp Sue Downey, of Greater Manchester Police, said: 'Police in Salford received a call from a woman in Walkden, who was concerned that a symbol had been marked on her house in chalk.

'Inquiries have been carried out and residents in the surrounding area have been spoken to, and we have received no further reports of any such activity.

'We always ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.'

The homeowner alerted police on August 25, as she feared she had become a burglary target.

In 2009, Surrey Police warned householders in Caterham to be careful after more of the symbols were noticed.

DC Steve Fleetwood said knowing the meaning of the symbols could be a valuable crime-fighting tool.

He said: 'The Exeter Neighbourhood Team saw them at the end of a few drives, on a few kerbs and on gate posts and we want to warn people about them.'