Oxford

'Da Pinchi Code': Kidlington mystery 'burglar' marks left by running club

The symbols
Image caption The symbols and arrows were thought to be a guide for burglars

White markings thought to be a burglars' "Da Pinchi Code" left outside homes in Kidlington have been revealed as the work of a local running club.

Residents became worried and contacted police after a series of arrows and crosses appeared on pavements.

But the marks were found to be the work of the Hash House Harriers, which uses a flour trail to guide its runners.

And it is not the first time the club's Bicester branch has caused a stir in Britain's biggest village.

'Facebook feeding frenzy'

Former group master Iain Belton said "every now and again" the mystery explodes onto social media, where the phrase Da Pinchi Code first appeared.

He said: "Someone mentions burglar marks or dog napping and off it goes in a Facebook feeding frenzy.

"However, a call to Thames Valley Police would have allayed their fears."

Image copyright Iain Belton
Image caption The Hash House Harriers is a club for all ages that started in 1938

Carly Humphreys lives in the Grovelands area where the markings were spotted and said at first she was worried.

"It's reassuring to find out that it was just the running club, because there have been break-ins around the area," she said.

"But it would have been good for the police to let people know what's going on."

On the Spotted: Kidlington page one poster worried that there had been "a few break-ins where these marks are" and another reported them after they found one behind his house.

In January a similar sighting of the so-called "Da Pinchi Code" was debunked by South Worcestershire Police who said the symbols had in fact been left by workmen.

The Hash House Harriers are an international group of running social clubs, in which runners called "hounds" follow a trail left by a "hare".

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "A running club has claimed it made the white marks, however if people are concerned about protecting their properties they can find crime prevention advice on our website."

Image caption The so-called criminal 'Da Pinchi' code, and the real meanings of pavement symbols

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites