Northampton university campus 'infiltrated' by criminals

Waterside Campus, Northampton.
Image caption The University of Northampton has transformed wasteland by the River Nene

Criminals have "infiltrated" a new university campus, where 12,000 students are based, police have said.

A senior officer said there had been an increase in drug dealing near the University of Northampton's Waterside Campus, which opened in September.

There were several complaints of anti-social behaviour from people living nearby, according to Sgt Lorna Clarke.

But she said a new dedicated policing team would help with the "challenges" and local businesses had been boosted.

A meeting for local residents was held at the university after students set off fireworks earlier this month.

Resident Heather Bryant said at the time that the new campus had "turned everybody's lives upside down".

Image caption The development, seen here in October 2017, took four years to complete

Sgt Clarke told a council review of the site's impact that the university's move to the new campus would be seen as "positive overall".

She said: "My team [of five] specifically are looking to disrupt drug dealing.

"This is not a new issue to this area, but would have increased with the move of the university.

"We are actively targeting anyone who has infiltrated the university purely for criminal means."

There have been "several" reports of parking problems and anti-social behaviour from people living near the site entrance on New South Bridge Road, a council report noted.

But it said: "The relocation of the university is having a positive impact on footfall in the town centre and is likely to lead to increased use of the facilities based in the town centre such as the restaurants and bars."

The £330m campus was built on a site by the River Nene which used to house derelict buildings including the old Northampton power station.

It has taken four years to build and replaces two former campuses.

About 12,000 students and 2,000 staff are based there, but the university says there is room for more buildings to increase capacity.

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