A mother has warned people to be aware of a burglary trick involving kidney beans that could mean their homes are being targeted.
Maria Celino-Straker thought she was simply the victim of a silly prank when she woke to find a mess of kidney beans on her doorstep in North Tyneside on Monday morning.
But after speaking to a relative who is an ex-police officer, she now believed the mess was a sign of something more calculated.
She said the kidney beans were being used as a tactic by potential burglars wanting to scope out whether or not people were at home.
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Celino-Straker wrote: "Well I woke up to this left on our doorstep this morning.
"Apparently this is a known trick of burglars.
"If not cleaned up in a couple of days they know you are not home and in they go.
"Thankfully I'm home and cleaned this up, whoever it was done this about 1am this morning.
"Look out for your neighbours especially those who are on holiday."
Celino-Straker says she was told by her relative that the trick is a well-known method used by burglars across the entire country – and not just in her local area.
She added: "It's not just beans. They use anything that you would have to clean up and that is not going to wash away with a bit of rain."
Since learning about the trick, Celino-Straker has been keeping regular tabs on her elderly neighbours and ensuring all her doors are locked.
She wants to raise awareness so that other residents can look out for their elderly neighbours, or those on holiday.
Yahoo News UK has contacted Crimestoppers and Neighbourhood Watch.
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