A prolific thief who targeted students at Birmingham University has been jailed for four years.
Ricky Woolaston disguised himself as a university maintenance engineer to gain access to the students’ homes in order to fund his drugs habit. However, the bungling thief was caught after he left a police charge sheet with his name on it at the scene of one of his crimes.
Woolaston, aged 35, from Erdington, was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to five burglaries, including one at Birmingham University and four at students’ residences.
The court heard that Woolaston, who is unemployed, committed the offences at the university in January this year.
He walked around the student campus wearing clothes bearing the Birmingham University logo and knocked on the student flats under the pretence he was a maintenance engineer. Once inside, he stole electrical items, including lap tops and mobile phones.
However, Woolaston was caught out when he tried to steal from the Biosciences department of the university on 29 January. He broke into the department and forced open two secure metal cupboards. Nothing was stolen, but he left behind a bag containing a police charge sheet in his own name.
Dc Jon Green from Birmingham’s acquisitive crime team, said: “Woolaston targeted students at Birmingham University in order to feed his drug habit. He wore a Birmingham University top and pretended to be a maintenance engineer in order to enter the student flats and steal electrical goods.
“Unfortunately for him, Woolaston managed to leave vital evidence behind at one of the break-ins, and we are grateful to vigilant students who were able to identify him for further burglaries. Woolaston was charged with a total of five offences, and asked for a further five burglaries to be taken into consideration. We are happy with his sentence.”