COPS have cracked a code of secret signs daubed outside houses as a thieves’ guide to fellow burglars.
The sick symbols are chalked on pavements or marked out with sticks and leaves — usually by conmen who first trick their way into victims’ homes.
The markings are used by some criminal members of the travelling community to indicate if a house is worth raiding.
The symbols include:
A DIAGONAL CROSS: meaning a good target; OPEN BOOK: woman living alone, easily conned; two overlapping RECTANGLES: occupants nervous and afraid, likely to call police; CIRCLE with a diagonal cross inside: nothing worth stealing; a D SHAPE: too risky to burgle; cluster of SMALL CIRCLES: wealthy householders.
The crooks’ guide was discovered after a big rise in burglaries in East London which took place after the victims had allowed suspicious callers inside. Officers began to notice the mysterious signs outside the houses.
Former Scotland Yard commander John O’Connor said: “I have never heard of anything like this before. The travelling community is close knit and normally communicates very quickly. But this is incredible."
“There are a lot of decent gipsies who do not break the law and it would be totally wrong to brand all travellers as criminals.”
UKMan (Sherlocks sidekick)