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Councillor blames students for noise and vandalism


An Exeter councillor has called for the University to tackle student behaviour, blaming students for recent complaints by local residents.

Cllr Keith Owen told Exeposé that  he and other residents have experienced late night noise in recent weeks.

However, the St James councillor stressed that noise was not his only complaint. “A resident of Thornton Hill has had considerable damage caused to his car parked outside his house,” he stated, adding that this could “cost thousands of pounds to repair.”

The resident reportedly saw “what he believes were University students running over the top of his car,” who “ran off towards the University” when he emerged from his house.

Earlier this week, Cllr. Owen told Express and Echo that noise “has been getting worse over recent weeks.” Citing “racket from a group of students who were shouting and chanting,” he added: “This is very disappointing after the warnings given by the University to their students following last autumn’s Freshers’ Week disturbances.”

Exeposé asked Cllr. Owen whether he could confirm that students were to blame. “At this stage we cannot prove the culprits were university students,” he stated, “but everything points that way and nobody has suggested to me that they were not students.”

A University spokesperson commented they were “sorry to hear about these incidents.”

“We have not been provided with any further information as yet to prove that these disturbances were caused by students. However, we always take complaints seriously and we can take action if students are identified as the cause of anti-social behaviour.”

“We are aware that a minority of students can cause disruption with street noise/chanting,” they continued. “Damage to vehicles can lead to criminal prosecution, which may, in turn, lead to a criminal record.

“We would encourage all our students to be mindful of noise levels, particularly in the evenings.”

A Guild spokesperson said: “We haven’t met with Cllr Owen about this specific matter but will be doing so in the next few weeks.

“Whilst we have no definitive evidence as to who caused this particular incident, there are patterns of activity and movement that correlate with people moving to and from campus, as well as people in clearly identifiable University clothing.”

Stressing that such problems were caused by “a minority of students,” they added: “The Guild remains committed to working with the community to emphasise the enormously positive contribution students make.”

Hannah Butler, News Editor

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