POLICE have reassured Portland residents that suspicious chalk markings found near their homes are not code for burglars and were put there by a local running club.

The chalk markings on the road near residential properties in Southwell had appeared on Wednesday evening, sparking fears in the community that homes could be targeted by burglars, who use chalk markings as code.

Officers said they had seen the markings before and it is ‘very rare for them to lead to anything more sinister' but that they took residents’ concerns seriously and so would be stepping up patrols.

The chalk markings showed lines, circles and one shows and arrow with what appears to be a number four.

One resident from Southwell, who did not wish to be named, said she went out on Wednesday evening at around 9pm to put out the rubbish and there was nothing there, but when her daughter went out at about 10pm, the chalk markings were outside the house.

She said it was ‘worrying,’ adding that she had washed them off in case they were markings used by burglars.

On Thursday officers said they would be stepping up patrols in the area in a bid to reassure residents.

Speaking at the time, Police Constable Jenny Bousfield, of Portland and Weymouth Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “There have been concerns from members of the community that these markings may indicate their homes are being targeted for burglaries.

“We have come across these kinds of markings before and it is very rare for them to lead to something more sinister.

“I would however like to reassure the public that we are taking their concerns seriously and not taking any chances.

“Police patrols are being increased in the relevant areas and we’d like to remind residents to remain vigilant, keep their doors locked at all times and take any other crime prevention measures.

“I urge anyone who notices suspicious behaviour in the area or who has any concerns regarding this, to contact me or the Weymouth and Portland SNT on 101 or via our Facebook page.”

However- yesterday morning the SNT posted a message to residents on the Facebook page, saying: “We would like to inform residents that recent chalk marks left on pavements have been left by a local running club.”

It is believed the markings were left by the Sub 60 Hash House Harriers who run fortnightly on the isle. Usually runners use a trail of flour which is either blown or washed away shortly afterwards. But residents are being assured that these markings are 'completely above suspicion.'

The Echo has attempted to contact the running club.


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