Exeter bar theft renews College’s theft concerns

first_imgExeter’ssecurity came under scrutiny last Friday after its JCR bar was van­dalised byan intruder. Theculprit gained access to the bar during the day as it was left open forstudents to use its facilities. He subse­quently vandalised the bar by break­inginto the pool table and jukebox with what is believed to have been a crowbar. Thematter was discovered by the assistant domestic bursar and re­ported to ThamesValley Police, who sent officers to Exeteron Saturday to examine the scene of the crime. A spokesperson from ThamesValley Po­lice confirmed the incident on Friday as “a break-in through anunsecured door; cash was stolen from the juke­box and the pool table”. EricBennett, Exeter’sdomestic bursar, said: “Around fifty pounds were stolen. The College has to payfor that. The same goes with dam­age to the machines, which might be somethinglike a couple of hundred quid.” Aporter at Exeterinformed Cher­well that a similar incident happened in third week. Onthat occasion, four machines in the lounge area were bro­ken into. In bothcases, the perpetrator was caught on the College’s CCTV. From video footage, itappears that the intruder could have been the same person. The Policespokesperson describes him as “a white man, around 30, 5’10” with baldingginger hair.”Thebreak-ins have raised questions about security, although James Rob­inson, Exeter’s bar officer,said: “The worry is not massive. The bar break-ins were isolated cases in thesense that one man spotted a loophole in security and exploited it. And so far,there hasn’t been any incident where student rooms were broken into.” Theporter said: “We try our hardest to keep an eye on who goes in and out of theCollege but the large number of visitors from outside… and the fact that theydo not need to report to the Porters’ Lodge make that task diffi­cult.” Bennettsaid: “We have planned long before the incident to set up a barrier by theentrance so that all visi­tors have to walk through the Lodge. But that meanshaving to open up a door in the wall and because is Grade I listed, the planwas refused permission by the City Council.” EmilyPull, Exeter JCR President, said: “I think it’s awful that the City Council isobstructing attempts to im­prove student safety.” Bennett added: “Our newestplan is to set up a swipe card system so that only members of the College canget in; others have to report to the Lodge. But it’s question­able whether eventhat would have prevented cases like this from happen­ing. The person whom wethink was the thief looked ordinary and not at all scruffy and if he says he’sa tourist most people would believe him. From the CCTV footage I actuallythought at first that he was an academic! “Peoplelike him know the system well – they know what to say when they are questioned,how not to at­tract unwanted attention and so on. So one can see that even withcheck­ing non-members by the entrance is not going to be 100 per cent secure.”Exeter students have beeninformed by the College since the incident that the bar will be shut during theday and any College member who wishes to use it will have to collect the keyfrom the porters’ lodge.ARCHIVE: 5th week MT 2005last_img


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