Laptop thefts escalate on campus

Concern has been raised this week after a recent increase in burglaries across campus, both in the library and residential blocks.

Abdoulie Fatty, a second year Law student, reported how he left his laptop on a desk on the library first floor when he went to borrow some items, and when he returned “I discovered to my utter horror and disgust [that] my laptop was missing”.

He continued to state: “While I accept my contributory negligence in leaving my property unguarded, one would have thought that a university library is a pretty safe environment. I am distraught and appalled by what happened. The laptop is uninsured so I will have to buy a new one.”

This comes after a recent spate of burglaries in Derwent College, where several laptops were stolen through forced open windows.

Many students have expressed their anxiety over these increased thefts. Joe McAdams, a second-year student, commented: “I can’t believe that. I always leave my laptop and phone on the desk unattended – you never think things like that go on at York as it’s usually got quite a friendly, community feel.”

Poppy Ellis, a first-year, took a similar view, stating: “It makes you feel sort of uneasy, knowing that campus just isn’t as secure as you assume.”

“I am distraught and appalled by what happened. The laptop is uninsured so I will have to buy a new one.”

Abdoulie Fatty
Second-year Law student

David Garner, University Press Officer, said: “This was an isolated incident, though obviously distressing for the individual concerned. There have been occasional thefts in the past and we have put up notices warning readers to be vigilant with their possessions. We advise all library users never to leave valuable items unattended.”

However, this was followed by a series of incidents in Eric Milner-White Court Block A, Vanbrugh College, on Friday, with one student, Ollie Oates, having his bedroom window forced open and his laptop and wallet stolen.

Another resident of the block reported having seen a figure dressed in a “dark hoodie and black cap” lurking outside her window on the same night.

She stated: “I was sleeping with my head by the window, and I heard someone trying to push it open. By the time I sat up, they had run around the corner.

“I called my friend over to check, and we saw a boy wheeling a bicycle towards the bridge, which I now realise must have been when he broke into Ollie’s room.”

The University is currently looking into these disturbances and thefts; while police were supposed to come and inspect the scene and take fingerprints on Sunday, they failed to show up at the scene.

The new Police Chief Constable for the University of York, Jon-Mark Buchanan, has told Nouse of his plans to begin a regular informal drop-in service where he will be able to chat “one-to-one with students about any of their concerns.” Buchanan also intends to look “more closely at Colleges” in order to directly target the more vulnerable areas of campus.


  1. Nouse, you’ve done it again, copying someone else’s story. First the Courtyard chips…. now the laptop thefts. Anyone would think you’re struggling to find news to report…

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  2. This article is incorrect. Contributory negligence has no place in the criminal law. It would only be relevant were Fatty to sue the accused for conversion, in which case contributory negligence might decrease the value in damages that he could be awarded.
    As this case will be dealt with by the police, and if the suspect is found guilty, will be taken to a criminal court, contributory negligence is irrelevant. All that would be considered would be the evidence surrounding proving the elements of theft that the Theft Act 1968 stipulates.

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