CRIMINAL gangs are leaving codes outside homes to tip off thieves as to whether a property is worth breaking into.


But police have cracked the meaning behind the cryptic signs and are warning householders to be on their guard.

Crooks are using a series of markings at properties, indicating details about the house, including whether the home is alarmed or a good target.

One chilling sign, in the shape of an open book, means a vulnerable female lives in the property alone.

The signs are daubed on walls, pavements or kerbs.

Police have warned householders to be aware of the 'code' and report any signs in their area.

Officers said they were aware of the markings being used in Lanarkshire.

A statement read: "These signs have been seen in East Kilbride.

"Please report all sightings."

Sources believe gangs are using the markings to help identify targets and fear they may spread out to other areas across Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

Signs are used by would-be thieves to indicate wealth, vulnerability and a simple 'X' means a property is a good target.

The code has been previously been spotted in other parts of the UK.

The Evening Times previously revealed housebreakings in Glasgow have halved thanks to a massive campaign by police.

Our investigation revealed break-ins in the city centre - once prime housebreaking territory - fell by 56%.

Detectives say the nationwide roll-out of Operation RAC has helped incidents of the crime reduce faster than almost any other offence.

Operation RAC - which stands for Recovery and Capture - sees teams of specialist officers investigate break-ins to homes, businesses and other buildings.

Senior police said the aim is to increase high visibility patrols, as a deterrent to thieves as well as providing reassurance for the public.

Launching the operation, Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, said: "Housebreaking has been highlighted as a priority for a number of our divisions.

"Officers in these areas will be taking targeted action to detect anyone involved and deter further offences from occurring."

Police also believe the easy availability of cheap electronic goods and better security systems have helped with the drop in crime.

For years after the financial crash, police had been bracing themselves for a rise in thefts - but it increase has never materialised.