BURGLARS are using a cryptic code to help fellow criminals target wealthy and defenceless homeowners.
The secret symbols indicate whether a home offers rich pickings, has already been burgled or, more disturbingly, is occupied by a vulnerable female.
English expat Debbie Porter contacted the Olive Press after she discovered markings on her Sabinillas home.
“A neighbour saw a man writing on the wall outside our house,” she said.
“He told us that he had heard that it was a secret code for burglars and that he thought the house has been made a target.
“We have been a little worried and feeling on edge. For the first time since I have lived here I don’t feel as safe as I did.
She added: “What is even more worrying for me is that the ‘X’ marking on the house indicates that it is vacant, which it clearly isn’t, but I worry that they will attempt a break-in while we are in.”
After reporting to the Guardia Civil, Porter was advised to paint over the markings.
The N332, the Guardia Civil’s English language support group, has now released a chart of the most commonly found symbols to help residents stay one step ahead.
“Knowledge is power. If we’re aware of it happening we can see if there have been any burglaries in the area and we can analyse the data to gather intelligence,” said spokesman Francisco Morales.
“We do not want to alarm people, only inform them.”
As well as identifying prime property, the secret code also warns burglars away from homes which have nothing worth stealing or are too risky to break into.