Thief caught in student’s room after rash of campus break-ins

By Nicky Woolf

After a spate of break-ins in Halifax and Goodricke colleges, a suspect has been arrested and is facing trial.

A first-year Maths student, Sarah Waite, interrupted the thief in her room on the evening of Sunday November 12 : “I opened the door and saw a guy by the window. He was bent over my laptop. He looked at me and I just froze… he came towards me and slammed the door in my face.”

Waite raised the alarm and the security services were called, but by the time they arrived the intruder had escaped through the window which he had forced open from the outside.
Later that night, residents of Halifax College reported a “suspicious figure hanging around the college.” Security services were again called, who held the suspect until the police arrived.

Detective Constable Avison of North Yorkshire Police reports that the suspect, 21, was “detained, arrested on suspicion of burglary, found to have an outstanding criminal record, and has been charged with burglary.” He is now “going through the court process.”

Waite attended an identity parade, but says she was “not sure my guy was actually on there.” DC Fennell described the two burglaries as “probably related”, and DC Avison said that the police have “strong suspicions” that the Goodricke break-in was probably perpetrated by “his partner… the second person who was seen to make off from the Halifax burglary.” Waite has since been called in by the police to “look at some photos of possible subjects”, in an attempt to positively identify the intruder.

When asked how often this sort of incident occurred, DC Avison replied: “It’s such a big campus that you’re going to have people targeting it from time to time. Unfortunately a lot of security people leave doors unlocked, which is a big problem down there, and windows open.”

Richard Remington, another first-year resident of Goodricke college, had his wallet stolen from his unlocked room during a football match. Police dusted for fingerprints, but have so far reported no leads.

Gill MacDonald, Goodricke College Administrator, refused to comment on allegations that some windows in Goodricke had been secured against being forced open from the outside while others, Waite’s included, had not; except to say that “most windows are already fixed, and the rest will be done as soon as possible.” She claimed “a series of serious drain-blockages held up work.”

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