This article is more than 3 years old

Ten years of True Crime on Campus – all the best bits part 1

Paul Greatrix is back with the very very best of 10 years of reports of crimes from all corners of the campus
This article is more than 3 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

Although it is hard to believe, 10 years ago saw the first ever edition of True Crime on Campus. For those who are new to the experience this series is a collection of the bizarre, unfortunate, inexplicable and just plain weird extracts from genuine university campus security reports which I’ve collected over the years.

Whilst these are the amusing ones (to me at least) our excellent and extremely hard-working security team has to deal with a large number of difficult and challenging situations which really aren’t funny for anyone involved. It’s vital work, often unrecognised, and key to the effective functioning of the university and good campus life.

From unexplained noises to quidditch accidents and from ninja turtles to people trapped in lifts it really is all happening on campus. People often do the strangest things too. And then there are the many and varied forms of animal life to cope with.

One things for sure with all the very real happenings on campus life is never dull for our amazing security staff. Anyway, here is the first part of a retrospective of the very best of 10 years of True Crime on Campus. Some of these are old favourites but there are a few previously unpublished ones too.


Dangerous activity

11:30 Security were informed that a tree was on fire in the Hugh Stewart Quad area. On arrival the tree was well ablaze, Fire Service were called and put out the fire. Fire Safety Officer informed.
1940 Report that a group of children had wrapped string around the legs of a Student as they walked along the pathway adjacent to DHL. Security attended the area was checked the children could not be located.
1220 Patrol Security observed a small child on a tricycle fall into the Lake at Jubilee Campus. The child’s Grandfather got the child out and the Officer was able to get the child’s cycle out of the water. The child was unhurt, just wet. They were taken home by the Grand parent.
1140 Report of a male by Highfields Lake with a Sword. Security attended. On arrival, Officers spoke to a number of Students from a re-enactment Society and informed them of the concerns which had been raised. Students’ Union to be informed of Police request to be notified of any further such meetings in this area.

22:15 Security were called to Hall as someone was in the bar with a bag of ten swords. The student claimed that they were used in traditional English dance and he brought them onto Campus to promote this. Security removed swords as they could be used as weapons. Warden informed. Security to follow up.


1255 Report of a person trapped in mud in the Lake adjacent to University Park. Security attended and after a search, a female was found stuck in the mud up to her waist. The Fire Service were called out they were able to extract the female from the mud. No explanation was given as to why she was in the mud.
12.05 Report of a person trapped in a lift in the Medical School. It appears that the lift was being worked on by engineers when a person entered the lift car without the engineers being aware. The Fire Service were called to release the person as he was keen to use the toilet.
1235 Report of a person trapped in the lift in Tower Building. Security attended. The person trapped was the lift engineer who had attended to repair the lift. A second engineer was able to rectify the fault.
2145 Report that a student had his hand stuck in a vending machine in Sir Clive Grainger Building. Security attended the Fire Service were called out. The Student managed to free his hand and went to the QMC to be checked due to pain in his wrist.

The unexplained

1730 Report of an electrical box making a bleeping noise in Hall, Security attended. On arrival Officers were unable to determine what the box was for Estates Help Desk to be informed.
0600 Report of damage in Portland Building, Security attended on arrival Officers found that a Christmas tree had fallen over.
2210 Report from residents on College Road that their loft hatch was open. The residents were concerned that there may be an intruder hiding in the loft. Security attended and checked the loft and secured the hatch. No one was found in the loft.
0148 Report of a person outside Hall shouting “Jenny” disturbing other residents. Security attended on arrival Jenny had been found there were no further issues with people looking for Jenny.

1510 A member of the public contacted Security to report that there was a Voodoo doll on the Headless Statue adjacent to Built Environment. The member of the public was concerned that Satanic Practices may affect Students. The person was given reassurance Officers attended the Statue and removed a doll with a pin through its head.
22:39 Security Control received a call that there was an umbrella on fire in the Quad at Hall and the Porter was dealing with it. Security did not attend.

Beasts of UoN

02:45 Security reported a lizard running around in the corridor in Life Sciences building. The lizard was captured and secured in a sealed plastic cup with air holes. Arrangements are in place for the School to collect this from Security.
1359 Report of Chickens in Portland Building. Security attended and searched the area however no Chickens were located. Further information on Snapchat indicated that the Chickens may be in Cavendish Hall. Security attended the Hall and searched the Hall. The Chickens could not be located.
1450 Report of Ducklings stuck on Cripps Hall Kitchen roof, Security attended Estates staff informed.
0050 Intruder alarm. Security attended, on arrival Officers found that the cause of the activation was rats in the building eating packets of crisps. Estates Help Desk is to be informed.
2215 Report of a pigeon hiding behind a sofa in the Amenities Building Jubilee Campus. Security attended, and the pigeon was removed from the Building.
1620 Report of a one meter long Snake in Millennium Gardens, Security attended the Snake was seen by the attending Security Officer and identified as a Grass Snake.

Image: Shutterstock

2348 Report of mini insects in a room in Hall. The resident asked for Security to attend. On arrival Officers suggested that the student close the window.
1720 Report of a bat flying around Psychology, Security attended and after taking advice from Bat Rescue were able to get the bat to go outside.
1830 Report of a cat up a tree adjacent to Hall, Security attended, the cat was coaxed down.
2055 Report of a large black poodle running loose adjacent to Hall. Security attended but the poodle could not be located.
1750 Report of kittens in a wooded area adjacent to Hall, Security attended, Officers located the kittens which were then taken to a place of safety. At 2045 another kitten was located and also taken to a place of safety by Security.
0800 Report of a male with a rifle adjacent to Hall, Security attended the area was searched the male could not be located. On the 16/05/15 at approximately 0800 Security Officers were in this area on observations to see if the male returned. The male was seen stopped and spoken to by Security. The rifle was, in fact, a camera with a telephoto lens. The male was a member of Staff who had been asked to take photographs for a University Calendar and was trying to photograph a Woodpecker.

Unwelcome behaviour

1804 Patrol Security Officer stopped a group of youths who were in the tunnel between Trent and Portland Building, the youths were told to leave Campus.
16:32 Security attended a report of two males riding BMX bikes on the balcony near to the windows of the David Ross Sports Village. Security asked the males to leave and they protested. The males eventually proceeded past the DRSV pulling wheelies and tricks on the bikes leaving site via the gate behind Lenton Lodge.
2145 Report of the theft of 6 socks from the laundry in hall, Security attended, police not informed. The student was annoyed as the socks which were taken were one from each of 6 pairs – leaving them with no matching pairs.
0830 Report of the theft of top dressing from the bowling green. Security attended Police to be informed.
1509 Report of a female armed with knives adjacent to Portland Building, Security attended. On arrival officers found a number of students from the Viking re-enactment society getting ready to go to an event.
00:05 Officers informed that the Hall porter had reported 3 youths sleeping rough in the kitchen car park. On arrival, the three males spoken to by Officers explained that they were from Portugal, attempting a ‘Red Bull Challenge’ where they have to get to Amsterdam using only Red Bull as currency and they had a checkpoint at the DRSV in the morning. The three were informed that they were not allowed to sleep rough regardless of this challenge and they agreed to move on.
0840 Report of Students on the roof of DSRV, Security attended and spoke to the Students. One of the Students had a Permit to be on the roof the two other Students were friends who were not covered by the Roof Permit. The Roof Permit issuer is to be informed to consider if they wish to revoke the Roof Permit. The Student stated that they wanted to show their friends their experiment as it was “just so cool.”
14:10 Report of offensive post-it notes being left in Hall. This was found to be a joke by students in the hall. The students were advised, and notes removed. Hall Warden informed.
1612 Report of youths throwing potatoes around adjacent to DHL, Security attended the youths left the area.
1830 Report of suspicious activity in Student Service Centre South, security attended. Officers spoke to a number of students who were there to hand in course work and had been looking for a large stapler with torches on their mobile phones.
2000 Patrol Security Officers on Beeston Lane were required to stop a Zombie Apocalypse that was occurring adjacent to Lincoln Hall. Those involved in the Apocalypse were advised that Zombies in the road were dangerous and they should use the Downs area. Those involved were part of a Conference which is currently in residence.

Image: Shutterstock

Injury time

1545 Report of a student with a suspected broken finger in Trent Building, security attended the student stated that they had been playing with Nerf guns when they tripped over furniture breaking their finger. Security took the student to hospital, safety office is to be informed.
20:20 Report of a conference delegate sustaining an injury at Hall during a game of ‘bulldog’. Ambulance attended and took the delegate to Hospital. Conference Office informed.
2315 Patrol Security Officers were stopped and asked for assistance on Jubilee Avenue by two Students as one of the Students had a head injury, the Student stated that they had been skipping along a corridor in Hall when they had banged their head on the top of a door frame. Security took the Student to Hospital. Hall Warden and Safety Office to be informed.
1100 Report of a student with a burn to their forehead in Hall, security attended and spoke to the student. The student stated that they had been trying to light a cigarette and set fire to their hair which burnt their forehead. The student was taken to Cripps Health Centre for treatment.
20:05 Report that a student had injured their ankle while dancing in The Exchange. Security attended and provided First Aid.
00:10 Security attended hall to provide access to two students. As the officer walked into the hall he found a student with a dislocated knee. The student stated that he had been doing marital [sic] arts moves when he popped his knee. An ambulance was called and attended the student was taken to hospital for treatment. The hall warden is to be informed.
7:22 Officers called to hall to meet a conference delegate who had hurt himself in bed during the night. He requested any swelling relief security may have. Security did not have any available but the delegate was left with the hall manager to resolve.
00:20 Report of two students with injuries at hall, one student had a back injury while the other had sustained a head injury. Security spoke to both students they explained that they had been messing around when one picked the other up and they both fell over causing the injuries. An ambulance was called and attended, the hall warden is to be informed.

Sporting chances

2316 Report that a Tutor had been Rugby tackled by a student outside the Hall. The Student was part of the American Football team who were having a Social event. Details of two of the group have been taken and will be passed onto the Warden.
1225 Report of a person with a suspected broken ankle on the Downs. Security attended. While dealing with the injured person, another person fell injuring their ankle. Both Students were taken to Hospital by Ambulance. Both Students were injured while playing Quidditch.

Many students these days really only want to play Quidditch

09:25 Report of a person requiring first aid at Sutton Bonington Campus. Security attended and provided first aid to the student who had ripped her big toe nail while cycling.
1450 Security were requested to Highfields Sports Ground where a football team were abusing the referee. Security attended and spoke to a team from Nottingham Trent University – they were told to calm down.Stuff happens

Stranger things

[On the coldest March day on record] 1305 Report of Students in beachwear standing in the snow adjacent to the Fountain on Sutton Bonington Campus. Security attended, the Students had left the area.
2200 Report that the Aspire sculpture was waving around a bit, Security attended and could see no issues with Aspire.
2010 Report that of a male was swimming in Highfield Lake. Security attended and spoke to the male who stated that he had done this for a dare. The male then got dressed and left the area.
1900 Report of a Bouncy Castle being used in the Portland Building. Security attended. The Egyptian Society had put the Castle up and a large number of children were using it without supervision. The organisers were asked to take it down.
2017 Security were asked to attend a house as the occupant was unable to work out how to use the washing machine. Security attended and after checking the machine it was found to be broken and will be reported for repair.
2150 Report of a male in a purple shirt wearing a Stetson causing concern adjacent to Hall. Security attended, Officers were told that the male had walked off after stating that they were an academic. Officers searched the area but the male could not be located.
1051 Report of a large inflatable training Anus blocking the site entrance to the Building site adjacent to Boots Building. Security Officers spoke to staff and builders in the area regarding the object. It was agreed to deflate the Anus and move it to an area where it would not be in the way.
2100 Security were called to Main Building Sutton Bonington as a Student required assistance. Security attended and spoke to the Student who asked if we could weigh their luggage to ensure that they were under the limit as they were leaving to catch a flight to Japan.

There is much more of this kind of thing in the True Crime on Campus book, which is still available. More to follow in Part 2 next time.

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