Fake Locksmith stickers are being used by thieves to identify properties as easy targets.
Wandsworth Council in South-West London have revealed that a sophisticated new scam is being used by thieves to identify and mark properties for burglary.
It is believed that scouts are sent out into the area to identify homes that look vulnerable before calling at the property during the day to see if anyone is in. If intercepted by the police whilst scouting the property they can simply state that they are leaving marketing material for the homeowner. This allows them to get a close up look at the security measures on the property and if they feel it would be easy to burgle, they leave a sticker.
The see-through sticker reads '24/7 Locksmith Repair Installation Locked Out' and contains the telephone number 0203 582 8175 which has been identified as fake.
The councils spokesman for Crime Prevention, Councellor Jonathan Cook, said that there is growing evidence that some organised teams of burglars may be using this method to target homes in South London and urged local residents to keep a very close eye out for the stickers and if they find one to remove it straight away.
He also said "It also goes without saying that if people can beef up their home security by fitting sturdy locks to doors and windows and alarms, then this will always reduce the chances of them falling victim to thieves and burglars."
Inspector David Bannister from Wandsworth police said: "At this time of year with the darker evenings there is traditionally a rise in burglaries, particularly between 3pm and 7pm. There have been a number of front doors found with stickers, giving details of a locksmith, which enquires reveal is not a genuine company. These are placed near the main lock. It is assessed that these markers are being used by potential burglars to mark potential targets which are then returned to subsequently. If you find a sticker on your door, the best thing to do is remove it."
The council later stated that police had received new intelligence since residents were warned of the scam and are investigating new leads to find those responsible.UPDATE: According to a new statement, Police have only confirmed that one property in Wandsworth had been burgled and that there was no definitive link between the burglary and the sticker.