Raiders are targeting blocks of student flats

Neil Hopkinson, who has been jailed for burgling a student flat in Sheffield.
Neil Hopkinson, who has been jailed for burgling a student flat in Sheffield.
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Students are offering ‘easy pickings’ for burglars targeting flats in Sheffield city centre, a court has been told.

It emerged crooks are ‘tailgating’ students and follow them into the communal areas of flats to steal belongings.

Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said the offence had become ‘prevalent’ in recent months.

He was outlining the case against 24-year-old Neil Hopkinson, of Queen Mary Road, Manor, Sheffield, who stole games consoles from the communal area of a flat in The Pinnacles complex on Broad Street.

Mr Outhwaite said: “This type of offence is familiar against students in the city.”

The court heard Hopkinson had 36 previous convictions.

Judge Alan Goldsack jailed him for 10 months for the ‘brazen’ burglary and two months for shoplifting.

He said: “It is very easy to get into these premises. All you have to do is wait for someone with the appropriate key or fob and go in.”