Students pouring into Canterbury have been warned to protect their possessions after shocking figures uncovered a £100,000 thieving spree on a university campus.
As thousands of youngsters prepare to start their studies at the University of Kent, it has emerged the site in Giles Lane is a hotbed for thieves.
Statistics obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal there have been almost 500 reported thefts on the campus since 2010.
The University of Kent campus in Giles Lane
Items stolen include 142 bikes, 34 computers, almost £8,000 in cash and 42 mobile phones.
Thieves even swiped an £1,800 barbecue, a wok, a tarmac roller, a £150 screwdriver and a bird table.
But surprisingly, given their hefty price and importance to students, only one textbook was stolen.
Despite a third of the stolen items not being given a value – including iPhones and laptops - the total cost to victims is still a sky-high £105,437.
But just six students have been arrested in connection with thefts from the campus, which is covered by 133 CCTV cameras.
Four students were arrested for burglary, but all were let off with police cautions. One of them left after receiving the caution in November 2010.
The other three, all arrested in December last year for breaking into university catering outlet Mungo’s, were fined £250.
They were also ordered to pay £139.20 to Mungo’s to cover the loss of stock and damage.
In May 2011, a student was arrested for stealing a laptop and received a police caution.
Another student was arrested for theft in April and a criminal prosecution is still ongoing.
Kent Union president Chelsea Moore says new students arriving in the city will be warned about the importance of keeping their possessions safe.
She said: “The aim of Kent Union is to improve students’ university experience, so their safety and welfare is taken very seriously.
“I am aware that during arrivals weekend and welcome week, new students often arrive with expensive equipment for their studies.
“Fortunately, there is minimal crime on campus. However, during this time the Union communicates the importance of safety and security on campus.
“PCSOs will also be in attendance at the Freshers’ Fayre to advise new students.”
Students on campus. Library picture
University spokesman Martin Herrema says a new secure bicycle shed has been installed on campus, with two others set to follow.
Mr Herrema said: “The University of Kent places great emphasis on security for its students and staff and fortunately, for a community of its size, there is relatively little crime on campus.
He added that students were advised about which bike locks to use and said issues of crime prevention and awareness were highlighted to new students.
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