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Raiders target Wolverhampton homes using 'chalk codes'

Burglars are believed to be targeting homes in Wolverhampton using coded chalk symbols to highlight vulnerable properties, police have revealed today.


The markings, which have been found scrawled on driveways and pavements on the streets outside homes in the city, include an 'X', which police believe indicates a good target for a burglary.

And neighbourhood officers at West Midlands Police have revealed the markings may have been found outside at least two homes in the city which they believe have been targeted in recent months.

Lauren Evans, partnerships engagement officer at West Midlands Police, called for residents across the city to be on the lookout for the marks.

"We are asking residents to remain vigilant for unusual white chalk markings that are appearing on residents' pavements across the city," she said.

"We believe the markings may be characteristics of a coding system to indicate what action is to be taken by criminals.

"Please stay attentive and report any unusual behaviour or markings to police."

Superintendent Paul Drover from Wolverhampton Police said there have not been any burglaries directly linked to chalk markings reported in the area at this stage.

Councillor Phil Bateman represents Wednesfield North, which is part of an area of the city which recently suffered nine burglaries in a single night.

He said more information is needed from the police in order to allay residents' concerns.

"These markings have been the focus of a lot of debate since the police revealed the warnings, but we need to know what is actually happening," he said.

"People are rightly concerned about having their homes targeted.

"As a community we need to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police."

Scores of worried residents have expressed their concerns via social media.

Emma Dacre said on Facebook: "Scary for those living alone and the elderly/vulnerable."

The technique was thought to be un urban myth until last year when Manchester Police announced would-be-thieves were using a sophisticated code to mark homes in their cross-hairs.

The symbols, which had been scrawled on the side of a pensioners home in the Walkden area, included markings outlining whether or not the home contained anything worth stealing and if a vulnerable female was present.

West Midlands Police have requested that anyone who sees any strange chalk markings outside of their own home or another's property, should call 101 immediately.

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