Grey College break-in sparks security concerns

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The Reception at Grey College was broken into towards the end of January, resulting in the theft of letters addressed to students.

In an email sent to all Grey students on 24th January, the College Master, Professor Tom Allen, told students that “police have investigated and made an arrest.

“They did a search of the suspect’s residence, and discovered a number of letters addressed to Grey students.”

Professor Allen could not confirm how many letters were stolen, or if “the letters that were found were the only ones that were taken.” It is unclear when, or if, the students’ letters will be returned by the police.

“Police have investigated and made an arrest”

Although it appears no personal possessions were taken during the break-in, the theft of letters raises concerns about the college’s data protection procedures and students’ personal details.

One final-year Grey student, who asked to remain anonymous, told Palatinate that the news “shocked us a lot, essentially because it’s nothing you never would think could happen.

“College is supposed to be a safe place. I would never normally lock my room – I would trust the codes for every door in Grey to work perfectly. Now there’s no way I would leave the building without locking my door.

“The news just confirms that Durham is not as safe as you might think. People think that Durham is such a small place that nothing like this could happen. The break-in has definitely shaken Grey, and there’s absolutely a bigger sense of insecurity in the college.”

“College is supposed to be a safe space”

Final year Grey College student

The break-in is the second significant incident to hit Grey College this academic year – Grey and Collingwood livers-in were evacuated overnight to Maiden Castle following a major power cut in November 2019.

Palatinate contacted the University to ask what measures they planned to take to ensure such an incident does not take place again. The University declined to provide further comment at this time, since this is an ongoing legal matter.

Photo: DS Pugh/Victor Watts Library

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