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Burglar jailed for third raid on student flat block in Sheffield

Derek Kerali, 25, has been jailed for 18-months, after he admitted burgling a student flat in the early hours of September 11 last year.
Derek Kerali, 25, has been jailed for 18-months, after he admitted burgling a student flat in the early hours of September 11 last year.

A thief, who broke into a Sheffield student's flat while he was in the bathroom - during his third raid at the flatblock, has been jailed for 18 months.

Susan Evans, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court how Derek Kerali gained access to the Portland Tower student flat block in Portland Lane, Sheffield City Centre by following in people who had the key-code for the building.

After gaining access, at about 4am on September 11 last year, Kerali made his way up to the eighth floor of the building, and soon made his way into the insecure flat of a student who had returned home a little while earlier.

"The complainant had returned to the floor in the early hours, and left his door unlocked to go to the bathroom," said Ms Evans, adding: "The defendant stole a number of electrical items including a laptop, a PlayStation and some speakers. He stole his cash cards, and £10 from his wallet.

"The defendant left behind an open can of beer, from which his DNA was discovered. He was also seen on CCTV."

Kerali was arrested for the offence last month.

He told officers he had committed the burglary but said it was not pre-planned and had taken the opportunity when visiting the building for a party, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement, the complainant said the theft of his laptop meant he lost several pieces of university work, as well as photographs of his family.

Kerali pleaded guilty to one count of burglary during an earlier hearing at Sheffield Crown Court.

Ms Evans told the court how Kerali had two previous convictions for burglary - both of which were committed at the Portland Tower student block during separate incidents in 2014 and 2015.

The 25-year-old was jailed for 25 months for the 2015 offence.

Defending, James Gould, told the court that Kerali, now of Whinney Moor Avenue, Sheffield should receive credit for his early guilty plea.

Sentencing Kerali to 18-months in prison, Judge Roger Thomas QC said: "You stole a significant amount of electrical equipment.

"Some were recovered, but the balance of things that were not recovered cost your victim a considerable amount, not just in terms of pennies, shillings and pounds; but also in terms of the amount of work from his studies that was lost, no doubt work that he will have to have done again, but he also reports there was a lot of personal material relating to his family that was taken."