Homeowners in fear at 'sinister' sellotape trick 'used by burglars to see if home empty'

Locals report their concerns after number of residents noticed tape on their keyholes

Denise Calnan

Homeowners in the capital have expressed fears over a "sinister" sellotape trick they believe is being used to mark vacant properties.

Locals in the North Strand area reported their concerns after a number of residents noticed the tape on their doors.

They believe burglars or squatters are placing the clear tape over keyholes to see which houses could be potentially vacant or unvisited.

It is the latest in a trend of 'property markings' that have hit headlines in recent years.

Residents on Dublin's northside have described the issue as "deeply concerning" and raised the issue with local TDs and gardaí.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said; "It's a tactic they use, they cover the keyhole with clear sellotape to establish if the house is being accessed.

"Two houses were found to have this tape on my street recently in North Strand.

"This is deeply concerning for residents."

The resident said they requested additional patrols in the area and gardaí are "taking the matter seriously".

Dublin City Councillor Ciaran Cuffe said he heard of a few similar incidents in recent months.

"It can be a way of determining whether a building is in use," he said.

"I could see it being used for sinister uses like burglary, or there may be other reasons."

Cllr Cuffe said there are a "huge amount" of empty buildings in his constituency, but noted some are vacant for "the right reasons"; "Some are vacant because people are away on holidays and someone may have died and the house is being put through probate," he added.

The 'sellotape tape' is the latest marking to cause concern for homeowners.

Last year, a community expressed its fears after mysterious road markings appeared on footpaths in the Ballybrack and Shankill areas of Dublin, believed to be used by burglars to target homes.

The local council confirmed to Independent.ie at the time that the markings were not created by council staff.

While in Clonaslee, Co Laois, locals believed farmers' homes were being targeted with stones and markings, to alert burglars of 'valuable properties to be hit'.

The 'markings' included stone mounds or marking with stones outside properties that people believed were being targeted.