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True Crime on Campus: The Platinum Collection

Paul Greatrix has the very best of the very best of campus crime reports from the archives. Enjoy.
This article is more than 2 years old

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

For well over a decade now we have been collecting the highlights of University of Nottingham campus security reports and publishing them here. Including compilation ‘best of the best’ specials there are around 60 editions now and plenty to get your teeth into if you are so minded.

Whilst things on all university campuses have undoubtedly been a bit quieter over parts of the last 16 months or so, at Nottingham our outstanding Security Team have been a constant part of the on campus presence to ensure the safety of staff and students. At the best of times Security staff have to cope with a range of strange goings on and the many and varied forms of animal life on campus too. The pandemic has meant that there have been some rather different and odd incidents to deal with as well.

Whilst I find most of the incidents which appear in security reports to be at least a little bit amusing our exceptional, award-winning and extremely hard-working security team has to deal with a large number of difficult and challenging situations day in, day out which really aren’t funny for anyone involved. It’s vital work, often unnoticed by other staff, students or visitors, and critical for the effective functioning of the university and good campus life. Just a reminder that the University of Nottingham Security Team was in 2020 awarded the great accolade of ’Security Team of the Year’ by AUCSO, the Association of University Chief Security Officers. It represented justified recognition for their efforts and I remain incredibly proud of our great Security Team.

Anyway, it is this team we have to thank for the back catalogue of many hundreds of campus incidents, collected here in the files of True Crime on Campus. As a little bit of self-indulgence and just because I haven’t done many of these over the past couple of years I wanted to share a collection of some of my old favourites together with a few newly minted reports and some earlier unpublished ones too.

I hope you like them. There are quite a lot…

No way

1915 Report that a person dressed as a Clown was attempting to scare people adjacent to Hallward Library, Security attended after a search of the area no Clowns were located.

1400 Report of a male acting suspiciously adjacent to Portland Building cycle rack. Security attended and spoke to the male. He was found to be carrying a set of bolt croppers which he said he used for cutting cheese. The Police were called the male was handed over to Police.

1200 Report of a foul smell in Hallward Library, Staff reported that they thought there was a problem with the sewage pipes again. Security attended and the cause of the smell was found to be a member of staff’s lunch. The Estates Plumber who had been called to attend was cancelled.

12:05 Security attended a report of youths starting fires at Beeston Woods. The fire brigade were in attendance, and two youths had remained at the scene. The youths had been burning their schoolbooks and had been encouraged by their friends doing the same. The youths were very apologetic and remorseful. Details to Safety Office.

02:50 Security attended Hall following a report that a glitter ball had been stolen. On arrival,
this was found to have been mistakenly reported due to the owner being inebriated and having temporarily mislaid the glitter ball. The owner apologised for any inconvenience.

Beasts of UoN

1450 Report of Ducklings stuck on Cripps Hall Kitchen roof, Security attended Estates staff informed.

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.

1653 Report of a Deer in Beeston Lane area, Security attended, staff from Wollaton Hall attended. A Vet from the RSPCA attended and assisted by Security was able to track the Deer down and tranquilize it. The Deer was returned to Wollaton Park unharmed.

09:50 Security attended Hall following reports that a pigeon had gained entry and was in some distress. The attending officer successfully escorted the pigeon from the building.

02:45 Security reported a lizard running around in the corridor outside B50 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.

0148 Report of Bats in a Students room in Hall, Security attended. A Bat was in the room and Officers were able to encourage the Bat to leave the Building.

0210 Report of a Tarantula Spider in a room in Hall. Security attended and were told the Spider had gone under the bed. After a careful search by Security Officers, a small house spider was captured and removed from Campus. The occupant of the room confirmed that the spider was the one they had seen.

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 Hall. Security attended the Hall and searched the Hall. The Chickens could not be located.

0100 Report that damage had been done in a kitchen in Normanton House Sutton Bonington. The person concerned was dressed as a Tiger and after throwing food and smashing some plates left before they could be identified.

Firm Favourites

2045 Report of a student with a cut to his face in the Portland Building. Security Officers attended and gave First Aid. The student reported that he had been playing Hide and Seek as part of an event with the Hide and Soc Society when he had banged his face while hiding behind a chair. An accident form will be submitted.

0343 A student contacted the Security Control room for advice on how to treat a black eye. Security attended. The student stated that they had been struck in the eye by a flying chicken nugget while in McDonald’s in the City. Security checked the eye and gave advice.

1015 Report of a male talking to a wall at the rear of the Biology Building. Security attended and spoke to the male. The male identified himself as a member of Staff – he stated that he was working through a Mathematical problem and would be returning to his office after his lunch.

0128 Patrol Security Officers observed a vehicle being driven dangerously in Newark Hall car park. Officers stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver who is a Student. Officers also spoke to the owner of the vehicle who is also a Student. The reason given for the dangerous driving was “letting off exam stress” – both Students will be reported to the Head of Security.

1500 Report of a Student with knives in his room in Hall, Security attended and spoke to the Student. The knives were shown to Security and confiscated. The Hall Warden is to be informed. When asked why he had the knives he stated that he likes knives.

09:15 Report of the theft of a Road Roller on hire to contractors from a worksite on College Road, on Sutton Bonington Campus. Security to follow up.

2325 Report that a picture had been taken off the wall in a Hall by a Pirate. The Pirate had gone in the direction of the Mooch Bar. Security attended the Mooch where they found over 40 Pirates none of whom had the picture.

1100 Report of a strange man walking around the Music School playing a Guitar. Security attended – no one matching that description was found.

1205 Report of the theft of a Pedal Cycle from adjacent to DHL, Security attended and spoke to the Student. The Student’s cycle had been found insecure by Security and removed to a secure area. The cycle was returned to the Student. When asked why he had not secured his cycle he replied that he was properly late for a class.

0048 Report of a person dressed in green, possibly a Ninja Turtle, in Portland Building attempting to gain entry to the Portland Cafe. Security attended. The cafe doors had been forced open but at present it is not clear if anything had been stolen. Security are to follow up.

0005 Report that a guest in Cripps Annexe could not find his room. The guest had been drinking, Officers attended the guest stated he was in room 9. Officers looked at his key and showed the guest he was in room 6 – he had the key fob upside down.

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.

2010 Report of a large number of students running around the Trent Building. Security Officers attended. The students explained that they were playing hide and seek. The Hide and Seek Society President was found by Officers and spoken to. Officers conducted a search of the building and located all the other hiding students. I understand that Officers declined their turn to go and hide

0645 Report of a Student with burns to their arm, Security attended. On arrival Officers spoke to the Student who stated that they had made a Pot Noodle for breakfast. The Student had placed the Pot Noodle on a window sill and then knocked it over themselves causing the burns. An Ambulance was called and attended the Student was taken to Hospital. The Hall Warden is to be informed.

Erroneous reports

1531 Report of a male sawing the lock off a Pedal Cycle adjacent to Hallward Library. Uniformed and Covert Security Officers attended the male was stopped and spoken to. The male, a Student, had in fact been using a pump to blow up his tyres and not, as had been reported, sawing the lock off.

2200 Report that the Aspire sculpture was waving around a bit, Security attended and could see no issues with Aspire.

2044 Report of a body lying on the grass at the side of College Road. Security attended and on arrival Officers found a number of people lying on the grass. They were all star gazing and lying down was the most comfortable way to do it.

0905 Report that Conference Delegates in Hall had items stolen from their rooms. Security attended – it was discovered that the Delegates were on the wrong floor of the Hall. All items were safe in their rooms.

14:40 Security received a call reporting a body in the Jubilee Campus lake. On investigation, this was found in fact to be a coat.

Unbelievable Jeff!

0730 Report from a member of the Public that they had found a pair of lungs and a windpipe on grass adjacent to the Lakeside footpath at Jubilee Campus while walking their dog. They stated that they had picked them up put them in a dog poo bag and put them in the bin.

0148 Report of a person outside Rutland Hall shouting “Jenny” disturbing other residents. Security attended on arrival Jenny had been found there were no further issues with people looking for Jenny.

03:10 Security reported a noise from the side of the Xu Yafen Building, Jubilee Campus. Security went to investigate and witnessed a movement from the interior of the Aspire sculpture. Security called for the person to come down immediately. The person descended the structure via ropes and identified himself, he was not a member of the University. The male was carrying what looked to be a rucksack but explained that it was a parachute and that he had intended to jump off the top. The male was advised not to make any further attempts to climb the structure and was asked to leave site. Security to follow up.

2325 Report of Students snorting Cocaine at a Party at Sutton Bonington Campus. Security attended and spoke to the Students. They stated that they had been taking snuff and showed Officers the container. No further action was taken.

14:05 Security attended Business School Lakeside following reports a lady had fallen in. On arrival the lady was swimming in the lake. It is understood the lady had accidentally fallen in the lake and was looking for her mobile phone.

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.

More Beasts of UoN

1753 Request from a resident of Abbey House to remove a large bee from under a sheet in their flat. Security attended and the bee was removed.

1340 Report of a male strangling Ducks at the Jubilee Campus. Officers attended and spoke to the male who denied it. There was no evidence to confirm the report. The male was told to leave Campus.

2330 Report of a live Goldfish in a toilet in Trent Building, Security attended and removed the Goldfish from the u-bend. Officers took the Goldfish to the Millennium Gardens and released it into the water feature.

22:30 Security were informed that a group of students dressed as tigers were threatened by a male in a blue car. The students had shaken a stuffed whale at the car, the car stopped and the driver got out of the vehicle and walked towards his boot to get something out. The passenger had stopped him and then they drove off. Security made a search of the campus but car was not found.

15:05 Report of a person hunting with a hawk at Sutton Bonington Campus; it was confirmed that this was not authorised at that time. The person left campus by themselves. Site Security Manager 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.

1615 Report of a Robin in Highfield House, Security attended and escorted the Robin from the building.

1015 Report of a Duck with Ducklings in Life Science Quad, Security attended Estates Help Desk informed.


21:10 It was reported that a group of Students had been seen in fancy dress complete with a baseball bat. Security located the Students in Hall bar, Security approached the Student with the baseball bat and advised him it was not an ideal accessory for a night out. Student was told he could collect it in the morning from the Security Office. Student was apologetic and polite throughout.

1240 Report of a Student vomiting in Business School South, Security attended the Student stated that they had eaten the rest of a take away from the night before for breakfast and then felt unwell. The Student was taken back to their term address by a member of Staff.

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.

1345 Report of a member of staff with peppermint in their eye on the Science Site. Security attended. The member of Staff washed their eye out and felt better.

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.

23:55 Security received a report that two students were firing a bow and arrow in the rear courtyard of Hall. Security attended. Bow and arrow confiscated. Details to Hall Warden.

20:25 Security received a report from the Building Attendant at Hall reporting that there was somebody fire dancing on the Downs, University Park Campus. On arrival it was established that the individual was a professional fire dancer who usually practices on local parks. Security advised her that she was not allowed to perform or practice on Campus without the written permission from the University. She accepted this and left Campus, there was no damage to University grounds.

06:20 Report of damage to a teaching room in the Trent Building, including an amount of red wine spilled down a wall. Estates cleaners attended, Security to follow up.

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.

1320 Report of a Student in Portland Building who was unable to find their way out of the Building. Security attended and located the Student who was given advice.

15:00 Report of a fallen tree in the Sutton Bonington Arboretum. Estates Helpdesk informed. There were no indications that it made any sound.

Apparently, something is coming home

And then, very strange indeed, one rather surprising incident from summer 2018:

1900 The Semi-final of the World Cup was screened with numbers attending in the low hundreds. No issues have been reported. Security measures are in place for the England game which is being played this evening, numbers and excitement are expected to be higher than last night. A call was also received by Security from a Mr G Southgate querying whether the Registrar of the University of Nottingham was fully on board with the fact that “it” was “coming home”. Security assured him that the formal position of the university was that it was indeed coming home. Registrar to be alerted for follow-up.

Just to note that three years on the mystery of what exactly was expected to be coming home has still yet to be satisfactorily resolved and, in any case, “it” ended up somewhere else after all that. It’s not clear whether there will be any repetition of this kind of thing this summer.

And finally…

If you’ve enjoyed this or any of the previous editions of True Crime on Campus then you’ll be keen to get hold of the moderately popular book of the same name if, inexplicably, you don’t already own several copies. It’s now available at a bargain price and you can order it for only a quid (yes, just £1, plus postage) directly from the University of Nottingham online shop or from Amazon if you prefer as well as on Kindle for only £1.99.

The book includes an outstanding selection of the many hundreds of bizarre, unfortunate, inexplicable and just plain weird campus crime reports have appeared over the years. This is quite probably almost your last chance to buy before we run out.

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