Spate of burglaries in Cambridge Colleges

Alex Cooke - Deputy News Editor 1 March 2010

Students have been warned of the need for vigilance after a sharp increase in burglaries from college properties in February.

Earlier this month, the porters of St John’s College were notified by the police about a series of burglaries in student accommodation.

 Head Porter Paul Doxey sent an email to all students informing them of the burglaries, and warning that although none had occurred inside St John’s, they had all been committed in the immediate area. He told The Cambridge Student (TCS) that John’s College closely liase with the poice, who provide information about local crime which is college related.

A series of bike thefts have also occurred at Clare College Memorial Court. Verification of this was given by PC Simon Railer, who told TCS: “We are currently investigating these crimes and are working closely with the University.”

Bike theft is a perennial problem at Cambridge. Ben Mortimer, third year English student at Clare College, was a recent victim. He told TCS: “My bike was stolen at the beginning of this term. Ironically, I had carried it across London and on the tube, and then after one day of being back in college, it was stolen! It was strange how the thieves went about nicking it though – they knocked all the numbers off the combination lock. It was quite valuable and I reckon that is why it was stolen, but now I have a cheap bike and I don’t worry about it. I know at least two other people who have had their bikes stolen, and if you look in the bike shed the locks lying on the floor show that bike theft is a problem here.”

Students at Trinity Hall were warned by their Head Porter, Mark Whitehead, that theft in colleges is a growing problem. They were told that most incidents had occurred due to doors being left unlocked and that precautions should be taken to make sure rooms are secured and students are aware of who they are letting into the college.

However, it is not just theft committed by those outside the University that students need to be concerned by. An email sent to all students at Newnham College by Marion Gale, Halls Officer, indicated that petty theft committed by students is also a serious problem. Gale wrote: “This is a polite reminder that taking items that do not belong to you is defined as THEFT. Theft is a CRIME and punishable by law. There have been numerous incidents reported of theft in student kitchens, with even more having been sent to me today. Taking (or “borrowing”) food from fridges – no matter how little, removing other people’s cutlery, cooking implements or crockery, or taking the cleaning up liquid (don’t know why you’d want that to be honest!) is THEFT. Please be aware that unless you ask for the owner’s permission to use their belongings YOU ARE STEALING. It doesn’t matter whether they’ve been left in a public space or not.”

Alex Cooke – Deputy News Editor