Family notice strange mark carved on tree days before cars stolen

Is this evidence the ‘Da Pinchi Code’ is real? Family notice strange mark carved on tree days before cars stolen in ‘Grand Theft Auto’ style operation

  • A West Midlands family claimed they spotted a strange mark outside their home 
  • Shortly after, thieves stole three of the family’s cars at their home in Sandwell
  • The appearance of the marks gives rise to the ever-debated ‘Da Pinchi Code’  

A family who noticed a strange mark carved on to a tree close to their home just days before a ‘Grand Theft Auto’-style gang stole three cars have reignited debate over whether the ‘Da Pinchi Code’ is real. 

For years, anxious homeowners have searched for signs of secret symbols daubed on their streets amid fears thieves are using a series of code to mark properties worth targeting. 

The markings seen outside the family’s home in Sandwell, the West Midlands, raised suspicions it could be connected to thefts of their Audi, BMW and Mercedes on August 9. 

Now, one of the victims has warned people to be on guard, speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: ‘We found a suspicious mark on the tree outside of our house, I don’t know if they used that to mark out our house or anything. 

‘We first noticed that about a week before, it was like they scratched off a load of bark, or burnt the tree slightly at the bottom. It’s directly outside the drive.’ 

A West Midlands family claimed they saw a mark carved on to a tree just days before a ‘Grand Theft Auto’-style gang stole three cars, raising concerns that the ‘Da Pinchi Code’ is real

In 2013 Devon Cornwall Police released a graphic suggesting what the signs meant. But following investigations, police said the marks pointed to work planned by utility firms 

He added: ‘We thought it was a bit weird but we thought nothing of it. It was an odd mark, we can’t 100 per cent confirm if this was associated with the crime or not though.’

Markings outside of homes have previously raised concern and in 2013 Devon and Cornwall Police shared an image of signs people should look out for. 

READ MORE: Do you live in a burglary hotspot? More than 500 homes burgled every day – we reveal which areas have had the biggest uptick in the past year  

Information included an ‘X’ which supposedly meant ‘Good Target’ and a flower-type shape, with five circles, meaning ‘wealthy’. 

Meanwhile a circled ‘X’ was thought to mean ‘Nothing worth stealing’ and a ‘D’ meant ‘Too risky’. 

But, after investigation, West Mercia Police said that signs actually pointed to utility work planned by firms.

A police spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of messages circulating again on social media purporting to be describing the ‘criminals code’ of paint or chalk markings left outside properties, identifying future potential targets for thieves and burglars.’

‘However, there is no actual evidence to link these symbols to anything other than completely innocent and easily explainable activities.’ 

The various meanings include indicating power lines, flammable material, water, drains or possible excavation routes.

The said the five circles does not indicate a family is wealthy, but instead shows how many cables are inside a cable duct.

While there has been much debate on whether ‘Da Pinchi Code’ one locksmith urged people to err on the side of caution 

However, one locksmith of Keytech locksmiths who previously worked as a contractor with Met Police explained that some marks could have meaning. 

READ MORE: Mysterious chalk marking are scrawled on homes in Stoke on Trent street amid fears they are part of secret ‘Da Pinchi Code’ used by burglars  

He explained: ‘These marks could be anything from chalk to paint which identifies a home of interest after they [the burglars] have cased the home to identify any security features like CCTV, smart door bells and alarms.’

He said that usually these types of markings can be found on walls, on the curbs, bins and other out of sight places and claimed that these marks differ from construction markings.

He said that the most common signs burglars will leave are ‘simple markings which look inconspicuous’ and they will often look to mark houses ‘which they consider to be an easy target.’ 

However, he noted that ‘most’ markings are due to road works or construction, and ‘will include a series of spray paint markings along with a number’.

He added: ‘Should any markings be made in chalk or paint or look out of place with no other marks around them, we would always suggest contacting the non-emergency police number 101 or reporting it through your local police website.’

Homeowners have feared such marks for a while and, in 2022, residents in Stoke on Trent reportedly found circles and circles with a diagonal line drawn outside their houses. 

The circles and circles with a diagonal line which were drawn in white chalk (seen here) and sparked fear among families that live in Beville Street, Fenton

Nick Taylor lives in one of the homes was marked (a white circle with a line through it) in Beville Street

Back in 2013, residents in London were concerned after finding transparent stickers marked on their homes. At the time police officers believed that ‘scouts’ placed them outside properties they deemed vulnerable 

At the time Nick Taylor, 39, who lived in one of the homes that has been marked in Beville Street said it has left him feeling ‘worried’.

He added: ‘I’ve heard about people doing it. It’s usually done for dogs.’

Similar worries transpired back in 2013, as reports came that burglars were marking houses in London with small, transparent stickers advertising as a locksmith. 

The signs, which purport to offer a ‘24-hour service’ but include a fake phone number, are typically placed by letterboxes.

At the time, Wandsworth police officers believed that ‘scouts’ placed stickers on properties they thought to be vulnerable, after checking whether the owners were at home during the day and if the doors and windows were locked. 

To ensure your home is protected from burglars, the locksmith said: ‘Security measures such as smart doorbells with a camera, outdoor security cameras, burglar alarms and timed lighting are some of the most effective ways to make a home a less desirable target.’

How to protect against burglaries 

Top tips to help make your home as safe as possible against the threat of burglary: 

  • Do the basics well: Sometimes an unlocked door or open window can be the only invitation a burglar needs to break into a home. Always make sure you lock all doors and windows at night or before going out, and ensure that all easily accessible, high value items such as wallets, phones and laptops are kept out of sight.
  • Make life hard for burglars: As well as installing security measures like cameras and alarms, also consider other items that may be useful for breaking and entering, such as ladders or hammers. Large hedges, fences or trees can also give burglars the cover they need to carry out their actions undetected.
  • Take steps when you go away: Before you go on holiday, cancel any papers or milk you might have delivered and install timers which switch lights or radios on automatically. This will make it harder for potential burglars to identify that a house is unoccupied.
  • Look out for your neighbours: Neighbourhood Watch schemes operate around the country and anyone can get involved. They are set up to allow local people to help the police cut crime and are led by volunteer co-ordinators who get everyone together to discuss how they can make their area a safer place to live.

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