Police have appealed for information after a number of personal belongings were stolen at the Bognor Regis campus of the University of Chichester.
Police said they received reports of wallets, purses, phones, tobacco and cash being stolen from the campus in Upper Bognor Road at 7.27pm on 11 September.
Saffron Austin, one of 12 Stonepillow Homeless and Drug Rehabilitation Service members given a ‘second chance at education’, spoke of how the group were ‘distraught’ after the theft.
She said: “Having been given a second chance we are understandably distraught and sad as we entered this phase of our live with not a lot to our names but a huge determination to better ourselves.
“(It is) heartbreaking.
“Items may be gone but not our courage, determination, recoveries or our fighting spirits.”
Police said ‘any line of enquiry will be investigated’.
A police spokesman added: “If anyone noticed any suspicious behaviour in the area at this time please report online (https://www.sussex.police.uk/contact-us/report-online/) or call 101 quoting 1237 of 11//09.”
The University of Chichester said it is ‘working closely’ with police with their enquiries into the ‘isolated incident’.
A university spokesman added: “Our thoughts are with those affected. As this is an active investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”
The victims were all part of a university launched ‘bridging course’, in partnership with Stonepillow, to provide a route into higher education for those in our community who do not have the required qualifications.
The university spokesman said: “Our University is enriched by students from diverse backgrounds and the bridging scheme is part of our commitment to reducing barriers to higher education.
“It is also part of our pledge to support the wider local community achieve a prosperous and sustainable future.”