Residents fear 'sinister' keyhole tape trick being used to mark vacant properties
Homeowners in Dublin 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.
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."
They said they asked gardaí to provide additional patrols in the area and said gardaí were "taking the matter seriously".
Dublin city councillor Ciarán Cuffe said he had 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."
He said there was a "huge amount" of empty properties in his constituency, but noted some were 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.
Meanwhile, AA Home Insurance warned homeowners to check locks on windows and doors as the peak time for burglaries has begun.
An analysis of home insurance claims found that around 42pc of claims relating to burglary in the past two years were made between October and January. In around a fifth of burglary claims, the intruder was able to gain access to the property through an unsecured door or window.