Police have issued a warning to homeowners after festive gnomes that could have sinister meaning began turning up in gardens.
Detectives say that they have had a report of “Christmas gnomes” being found in front gardens in the Broughton area of Wales.
And they say it could be a trick by burglars to check if the residents are at home or not, reports the Daily Mail.
A spokesman for the Flintshire North branch of the force said: “We are aware of a report of individuals in the Broughton area leaving Christmas gnomes in residential front gardens.
“This type of behaviour is sometimes used as a ‘calling card’ to see if the gnome is collected by the resident.
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“If not, the property is likely to be empty and could be an easy target for burglaries.
“We would advise residents to be vigilant and ensure your home is secure.”
Strange markings and unusual findings outside of homes have been dubbed the ‘the Da Pinchi code’.
This follows the case of a family in Birmingham who were the victims of a three car theft and burglary.
The family warned of an “odd” marking that appeared outside their home in the Sandwell area just days before the burglary.
Part of the bark of a tree had either been scratched off or burned at the base – and the family think it could have been a sign to target the property.
One of the sons who had their car stolen said: “We first noticed that about a week before, it was like they scratched off a load of bark, or burnt the tree slightly at the bottom.
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“It’s directly outside the drive. We thought it was a bit weird but we thought nothing of it. It was an odd mark, we can’t 100 percent confirm if this was associated with the crime or not though.”
Following the gnome incident, North Wales Police shared tips for keeping properties safe and deterring potential burglars.
These included making sure that social media posts about holidays aren’t public and that homeowners should keep the lights and radio on a timer to make it look as though a house is occupied.
Asking a neighbour to open and close curtains as well as keeping an eye on the property is also a good idea.
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