A mum suspects she was targeted by burglars after waking up to kidney beans all over her doorstep.
Maria Celino-Straker has warned others to be vigilant of a clever burglary trick designed to show crooks who is at home and who is not.
When she first opened her front door to a disgusting mess on Monday morning, Maria thought it was the work of mindless pranksters.
A conversation with her ex-police officer pal however revealed the mess is likely a sign of something far more sinister.
Maria now believes the kidney beans were used to scope out whether she was at home, which has led her to rally Facebook friends to look out for neighbours on holiday, the Manchester Evening News reports.
"Well I woke up to this left on our doorstep this morning," she wrote in a Facebook post.
"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.
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"Look out for your neighbours especially those who are on holiday."
The post has since been shared over 2,000 times by other social media users wanting to warn their friends and neighbours.
Maria lives in the North East but says she was told by her relative that the trick is a well-known method used by burglars across the country.
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"It's not just beans," she told the MEN.
"They use anything that you would have to clean up and that is not going to wash away with a bit of rain."
The mum says that since learning about the trick, she 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.
"I posted about it because I wanted to warn people and get them to look out for each other," Maria said.
"If it helps one person it was worth it."
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