Homeowners are being warned that potential burglars may be marking out empty homes using white pebbles.
An area co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Watch in Portishead, near Bristol, said that small white stones have been spotted outside properties, including under car tyres, in what could be a signal for opportunistic thieves.
Nick Gough, area co-ordinator for Portishead's Neighbourhood Watch, told MailOnline that the group believes certain roads are being “targeted by burglars”.
“There are reports of a male leaving white stones outside of various properties,” he said adding that the homes “look unoccupied”. The group believes the stones are being left beneath car tyres to test whether the homeowner or tenant is in.
“The male placing the stones is delivering charity bags for unwanted clothing,” he added.
The report comes after fears markings known as the “Da Pinchi Code” were being etched onto pavements outside homes.
Five small circles were said to demarcate a homeowner who was wealthy, while two interlocking rectangles denoted that the resident was nervous or afraid.
But after investigating the markings, West Mercia Police later set about easing public fears and said that the drawings were in fact left by utility firms.