Cunning burglars are daubing white paint on properties in Doncaster that contain a wealth of goods – before returning later to break-in.
A concrete panel and a wooden fence have been marked at two properties in Edenthorpe.
Police warned that while this could merely be mindless vandalism, in the past marks such as these have been used by criminals scoping out properties, gardens and sheds to target.
Officers are now warning members of the public to be vigilant.
PC Gemma Ibbitson, of the Doncaster Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Please be extra vigilant and secure your properties and do not leave items on display.
“Lock your doors and set your house alarms. With the darkness setting in early afternoon use a timer or sensor switches on your lights when you are out to make it look like someones home.
“Dispose of boxes and rubbish discreetly, leaving boxes outside will signal to burglars that you have new and valuable goods - especially after Christmas.
“Be cautious when using social media and don’t advertise that your home is empty by telling people you are away - wait until you return from your trip to post your adventures.
“If in doubt and you see suspicious activity or behaviour contact 101 or 999 in an emergency.“