Prolific thief who targeted university students is jailed

A prolific thief who targeted students at Birmingham University has been jailed for four years. 

Ricky WoolastonRicky 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.”

Police linking racist vandal attacks in Birmingham

Police are linking two racist vandal attacks in south Birmingham. 

PC Simon Wilson Patrolling the campus of University of Birmingham.Islamaphobic graffiti was daubed on walls at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston and a mosque in Selly Oak overnight between Friday (16 January) and Saturday (17 January). 

Sergeant Pete Sandhu, responsible for policing in Edgbaston, said: “Mindless hate of this kind has no place in 21st century Birmingham and work is underway to find the person responsible.

“My officers have visited both sites and spoken to a number of people. 

“Evidential photographs have been taken and CCTV which may have captured the vandal is currently being reviewed.”

The graffiti has now been removed from the wall of the old university gym on Edgbaston Park Road and the Jahalabad mosque on Dartmouth Road. Inquiries are ongoing. 

Anyone with information which may help Sgt Sandhu’s investigation should call police on 101. People who don’t want to speak with police officers directly should contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information on hate crime including ways to stay safe and how to report incidents visit:

21st October Selly Oak LIVE Tasking Meeting- Attend or Watch Online

The Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team want to welcome all members of the community to the 21st October Neighbourhood Tasking Meeting. Neighbourhood Tasking is a monthly meeting which local residents are encouraged to attend to raise any concerns that they may have regarding their local area.

Present at the meeting are representatives from both Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team and Birmingham City Council. The aim of the meeting is to establish priorities for the area and formulate a plan to address the issues raised. It is also an opportunity to update you on work completed by the local Police Team and Birmingham City Council.

We hope you can come along!

Date: 21 October 2014

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Christian Life Centre Offices, 2-6 Frederick Road, Selly Oak, B29 6PB

Are you unable to make the meeting? We will be streaming the meeting LIVE online on the evening. Simply click this link:  Participate in the conversation on the evening by e-mailing questions to the Selly Oak Team by 5:00pm on 21st October at  Alternatively, if you’re on Twitter you can ask questions using the hashtag #AskSellyOak

Follow the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team on Twitter @SellyOakPolice and the West Midlands Police Birmingham South Partnerships Team @SthBhamPartners for updates on police activity and community partnership events.

Breathalyser Alcohol Awareness Campaign Coming to a Selly Oak Pub Near You!

The Selly Oak Neighbourhood Team is working in partnership with the University of Birmingham Community Wardens and local participating licensed premises to push a new initiative to curb binge drinking.

The excess consumption of alcohol has been directly linked to anti-social behaviour, public place violence and increased hospital visits. It can also increase a person’s vulnerability and can put them at risk of becoming a victim of crime themselves.

Starting this weekend (17 October 2014), drinkers will be randomly breathalysed at the door of up to eight of their favourite watering holes as a “condition of entry.”

Selly Oak Officers have trained and equipped door staff with breathalysers to test whether patrons are sober enough to be let in. Each participating premise is responsible for setting its own limit of alcohol as a “condition of entry.”

A PubWatch Representative, said, “We welcome trialling this initiative. We are always looking for ways to keep our student community safe from harm and we have seen at first hand the results that too much alcohol can have.”

Local premise landlords will start displaying signs with the slogan “Are you trollied?” to advise party-goers that they are taking part in the scheme and may be breathalysed upon entry.

Selly Oak Police Officers, Community Wardens and Venue staff will promote the initiative and educate students on responsible drinking with Twitter using #deepbreath.

Participating licensed premises have been asked by Police to record breathalyser readings in hopes of evaluating and analysing effectiveness of this initiative. Most recently this tactical initiative was successfully used by Norfolk Constabulary in December 2013, who saw a 66% reduction in alcohol related arrests and a 32% reduction in all violent crime.

Sergeant Simon Williams from the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team said: “With a new culture of pre-drinking, students are unaware of how intoxicated they are when they set out for a night of partying.”

“We aim to keep everyone safe, while still allowing responsible revellers to enjoy themselves. By effectively being “cut off” at the door, staff can open the eyes of drinkers and hopefully deter further overconsumption. As their evening out comes to a close we want people to get home safely instead of ending their night in a police station or hospital bed, so alcohol awareness is the key to that happening.”

Follow the @SellyOakPolice on Twitter for regular updates on #DeepBreath

Want Crime Prevention Advice from Your Local Neighbourhood Police Officers? Meet Them This Week!

Thursday, 16th October 2014
Meet and Greet & Crime Reduction Talk with the Selly Oak NHT
Police Room, University Centre (Near the Spar). 
12:00pm – 2:00pm

Saturday, 18th October 2014
Sign up and start registering your valuables w/ Immobilise on the spot!
Where: Selly Sausage, Selly Oak
10:00am – 12:00am

Monday, 20th October 2014
Selly Oak All Out Evening with Community Wardens
Door Knocking & Resident Engagement
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Tuesday, 21st October 2014
Sign up and start registering your valuables w/ Immobilise on the spot!
Where: Elim Church, Exeter Road, Selly Oak
6:00pm – 8:00pm


Andy Smith

Police Surgery – Every Wednesday
Meet your University Officer – PC Andy Smith
Police Room, University Centre (Near the Spar). 
12:00pm -3:00pm

 Follow the University Officer on Twitter @BrumUniCop

Follow the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Team on Twitter @SellyOakPolice
Find out more about the team by visiting:

Follow the Edgbaston Neighbourhood Team on Twitter @EdgbastonPolice

Follow the Birmingham South Local Police Partnerships Team on Twitter @SthBhamPartners

Come Meet Your Local Police Officers 8-9th October

Andy Smith

Police Surgery – Every Wednesday
Meet your University Officer – PC Andy Smith
Police Room, University Centre (Near the Spar). 
12:00pm -3:00pm

Wednesday, 8th October 2014
Crime Reduction Day with the Selly Oak NHT
Elim Church, Exeter Road, Selly Oak
1:00pm -3:00pm


Thursday, 9th October 2014
Police Room, University Centre (New the Spar)
Meet and Greet & Crime Reduction Talk with the Selly Oak NHT
12:00pm – 2:00pm


Follow the University Officer on Twitter @BrumUniCop

Follow the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Team on Twitter @SellyOakPolice
Find out more about the team by visiting:

Follow the Edgbaston Neighbourhood Team on Twitter @EdgbastonPolice

Follow the Birmingham South Local Police Partnerships Team on Twitter @SthBhamPartners

University students are being warned to stay vigilant as they run up large telephone debts in suspected mobile phone fraud

The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has launched an investigation into a suspected mobile phone fraud targeting students at universities across the UK.

University students across the country have been offered cash incentives to entice them into registering for personal mobile phone contracts which are then used for the benefit of a private company. Invariably the student would receive a high value smart phone on a lengthy network contract, but then send on the phone and SIM card to the private company for a small cash incentive and the promise of a modest monthly income. However, the students involved are now running up significant debts.

It is believed that students may have divulged significant detail about their bank accounts, credit or debit cards and personal circumstances, making them susceptible to identity fraud.

The NMPCU has written to a number of UK universities, asking them to highlight the issue to students and urging them to stay vigilant. The major UK mobile phone networks and other industry partners have been made aware of the investigation to best support the affected students.

Detective Inspector Louise Shea, of the NMPCU, who is leading the operation, said: “The NMPCU is working closely with the major UK mobile phone networks and universities affected in this large-scale and complex investigation.

“We understand that this matter will be of considerable concern to the students and family members affected as they will be accruing significant debts. We are committed to ensuring that those engaged in fraudulent activity do not escape justice.

“We urge any students that have been affected by this to come forward to assist the investigation and prevent this happening to anyone else.”

Protect yourself

-Inform your bank or building society as soon as possible.
-Change financial and email account passwords and security questions. Particular care should be taken to close any compromised accounts. Also ensure that other family members do not use account passwords such as your mother’s maiden name, these should also be changed.
-Obtain a copy of your credit report. This will identify searches conducted by a lender, date of search, type of application and which credit accounts are set up in your name. You can contact any one of the three credit reference agencies and receive support in resolving credit report problems caused by identity fraud: Callcredit – Equifax – Experian
-Look at your credit report closely. If you find entries from organisations you don’t normally deal with, contact them immediately.

Prevent yourself becoming a victim
-Never divulge private information data in response to a personal approach, email, text, letter or phone call unless you are certain that the request is from a reliable source.
-Check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank, financial or mobile service provider concerned.
-The three credit reference agencies offer a credit report checking service to alert you to any key changes on your credit file that could indicate potential fraudulent activity: Callcredit – Equifax – Experian
-Don’t throw away entire bills, receipts, credit-card or debit-card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post in your name. Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder.
-Keep your personal documents in a safe place, preferably in a locked drawer or cabinet at home.
-Change passwords regularly.

If you suspect you or a family member has been affected by this, you should email the NMPCU providing your contact details, your registered university and brief details of the issue. In an emergency, you should always phone 999 for an immediate response if an incident is happening now or if anyone is in immediate danger.

For advice on how to protect yourself from a fraud of this kind, please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

To see this press release visit:

Selly Oak Police Hosting 21 July Tasking Meeting – Attend or Watch LIVE online!

We would like to invite all members of Selly Oak community to attend the 21st July Selly Oak Police Tasking Meeting at 7pm at Elim Church, Selly Oak.

Unable to attend? No Problem! We will be LIVE streaming the meeting online on the evening. Simply click the following web address when the meeting starts:

If you’re on Twitter, you can ask questions starting today via twitter using the hashtag #asksellyoakpolice

All questions for the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team and/or the Birmingham City Council Member attending will be read out and answered LIVE online during the meeting.

Visit the Selly Oak team on Twitter at @sellyoakpolice or find more information out about your local team at

Selly Oak NHT Community Tasking Meeting – Tuesday, 15th April

The Selly Oak Neighbourhood Police Team welcome all members of the community to their Community Tasking Meeting on Tuesday, April 15th at 7pm at the Christian Life Centre on Frederick Road, Selly Oak.

These meetings are a great way to voice your opinions and concerns about issues relevant to your area.

For more information about your Selly Oak NHT visit:

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter – @sellyoakpolice or email us at if you have any questions or wish to inform us of any issues.

Selly Oak NHT Weekly Round Up: 7th April – 11th April

Welcome back to the Selly Oak Neighbourhood weekly blog!

Thank you for taking an interest in what we have been getting up to this week.

As you are probably aware, Bournbrook is quiet at the moment with the students being on study leave for the Easter holidays. High visibility patrols have continued around the area which has resulted in no burglaries or robberies in Bournbrook. We are aware that the University’s library is open 24 hours a day, days a week, so we take that into consideration when out on patrol.

On Tuesday, 8th April, Two Selly Oak Neighbourhood officers attended a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Day at Tally Ho Training Centre. They were given inputs on counterterrorism, child sexual exploitation, hoarders, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and human trafficking. There was representation from numerous partnership agencies including: Birmingham City Council Safer Community Group, NHS, the West Midlands Fire Service, Birmingham and Solihull Woman’s Aid, Aquarius, Addaction, BRAVE, Phoenix Futures – B-Chilled and Victim Support. This was a very constructive, informative and interesting day that allowed our attending officers to learn more about safeguarding in our community. We would encourage you all to look up those organisations and topics to learn more about how these groups and issues may have an impact on your communities.
Have a good week. Keep safe.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter – @sellyoakpolice or email us at if you have any questions or wish to inform us of any issues.

Regards from the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Team.