Brits Alerted to Secret Symbols Employed by Burglars for Home Targeting

Unveiling the Covert Signs Crafted by Thieves to Identify Potential Houses

In a recent cautionary revelation, Britons are being warned about a covert practice utilized by burglars to pinpoint homes as potential targets for theft. This alarm comes in the wake of a family’s unsettling discovery of a suspicious mark etched onto a tree adjacent to their residence. Mere days later, they fell prey to a criminal gang resembling something out of the video game “Grand Theft Auto,” who adeptly made off with three vehicles. The particular patch of tree bark, described as either ‘scratched off or burned,’ ignited concerns that it might have served as a clandestine burglar sign.

The Unveiled Cipher: ‘Da Pinci Code’

Dubbed the ‘Da Pinci Code,’ these cryptic symbols are being used to covertly identify properties that hold enticing prospects for thieves. This often relates to homes with high-value vehicles or lucrative assets such as dogs, which can be pilfered for profit. Although typically inscribed in chalk, the markings discovered on the tree near the Sandwell family’s residence could potentially be connected to the theft of their Audi, BMW, and Mercedes in the early hours of August 9. A victim of this spree has issued a word of caution, urging people to maintain vigilance.

A Curious Mark: Pondering the Connection

Speaking to BirminghamLive, the victim shared, “We noticed an unusual mark on the tree outside our house; I can’t confirm if it was used to mark our property.” This observation was made approximately a week before the thefts transpired. The mark seemed to resemble a portion of bark that had been scraped away or charred at the base. The mark in question lies directly outside their driveway. Despite the peculiar nature of the mark, the victim acknowledges that they cannot definitively establish a link to the crimes.

Decoding the Markings

The concept of these markings has been causing concern for some time. Devon and Cornwall Police had previously disseminated an image containing symbols citizens should be watchful for. The symbols include a cross, indicating a ‘desirable target,’ and a circle with a cross through it, suggesting that a house contains nothing of significant value. Other symbols include a triangle, signifying that a single woman resides within, and vertical lines, implying the presence of valuable possessions. Moreover, the letters ‘M’ and ‘N’ are also used, with ‘M’ indicating a preference for morning burglaries and ‘N’ suggesting a night-time intrusion.

A Rarity, Yet Worthy of Caution

The Safeguarding Hub, a platform disseminating home protection advice across the UK, has previously shared insights into these symbols. Emphasizing the rarity of their use, the Hub underscores that the symbols have indeed been observed in practice by law enforcement. The note of caution is not intended to induce undue alarm; however, caregivers to elderly or vulnerable individuals are urged not to dismiss strange markings outside their wards’ homes. Confirming the legitimacy of such symbols can provide peace of mind and ensure the safety of those under their care.


While the utilization of secret symbols remains an infrequent practice, the recent incidents highlight the need for awareness and vigilance. The mysterious marks, albeit rare, serve as a reminder to stay attuned to one’s surroundings and take necessary precautions to safeguard homes and loved ones.

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