Police deliver pizza boxes to Newcastle students in new burglary campaign

Burglary campaign Credit: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Northumbria Police have launched a new campaign to combat a significant rise in burglaries on student accommodation in Newcastle's East End.

Since the beginning of May, there have been 32 burglaries on student homes in Jesmond and Heaton.

The force is now delivering pizza boxes packed with crime prevention and awareness warnings to students in the city to warn of the dangers.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Gary Sutherland is now in prison after being caught on CCTV raiding a student property in Jesmond in March.

He was recorded loitering in the rear car park of a supermarket in Jesmond, scouting the alleyways which back onto some residential houses.

Moments later he was seen looking into the entrance of one of the properties and within a minute he had burgled the property, escaping with a bag full of goods and possessions worth £900.

Clearly the police are doing a lot of work to target the offenders in this pattern of burglaries, we're doing a lot of work around disrupting it, but what we really want to do is ask that those residents in these areas, students in particular, play their little part in it, by locking their windows, locking their doors, setting their alarm if they have one, reporting suspicious behaviour to the police and those are the messages that are inside the pizza box.

Inspector Steve Wykes, Northumbria Police

Areas such as Heaton and Jesmond have large student populations and officers believe thieves could be targeting student properties as they are often left unlocked, particularly as the weather improves over the summer.

Regular patrols are conducted in the area to educate students to keep their doors and windows locked, but police are not convinced the message is getting through.

The pizza boxes will contain a takeaway menu containing a host of crime prevention advice and a warning message, "this time it's an empty pizza box, next time it could be an empty home".

Newcastle University Students' Union have welcomed the campaign.

I think it always shocks our students, the efficiency with which these burglars act, so it's really important that our students are mindful about locking up the house and really protecting their possessions, because once they're gone, they're gone unfortunately.

Ronnie Reid, Newcastle University Students' Union
Burglary Campaign Credit: ITV News