The chairman of Meath County Council, Nick Killian, has taken to social media to warn Ratoath residents that a couple of men are casing out houses by ringing on the doorbell to check if anyone is home before attempting to break in.

If a householder answers the door the tuneless duo burst  into song with a rendition of Christmas carols, and according to one man who encountered them not very well!

Their ulterior motive was revealed when one home owner said her doorbell had recorded a conversation between them.

She posted on Facebook, ‘ “These two men called at my door yesterday, They were talking about that if no one is home they should try to look through the window and try to break in through the back. But the one in the red jacket refused to go with the plan and due to the doorbell recording I was able to hear what was said.”

Another poster said, “They called to my door yesterday in Steeplechase. When I answered, they started singing a Christmas carol (badly). They had no clipboard and seemed to be going door to door.”