Headingley Crimewave: Neighbouring houses burgled four times in a fortnight

Terrified St. Michaels Lane residents plagued by opportunistic thieves

Residents in St. Michaels Lane in Headingley are living in fear after neighbouring student houses were burgled a staggering four times during Freshers Fortnight.

The target of the recent burglaries

The houses were targeted by brazen robbers, who caused extensive damage and made off with thousands of pounds worth of hardware.

Matt Bussey, a Civil Engineering student who lives in one of the houses, told The Tab of his shock when they were first robbed.

“It had obviously been done in the middle of the afternoon. We got home and realised the front door had been kicked in.

“They’d taken a laptop or iPad from every single one of us.

“They’d obviously run around in a hurry because the place was absolutely trashed – all our furniture had been flipped over.”

Thieves smashed through the front door to gain access

Fellow housemate and Law student Kate Imeson said that the first burglary happened only four days after they’d moved in: “It was honestly the first time that we’d all been out of the house.”

The students thought their ordeal was over, but it had only just begun – one week later, they were burgled again.

“We were literally just across the road at Varsity,” Matt says.

“It was sort of our fault because we left open a tiny window upstairs. Someone climbed the drainpipe and managed to squeeze through.”

Burglars scaled the drainpipe and squeezed through the tiny middle window

The stunned Engineering student says: “They took everything of value that hadn’t been taken the first time.

“Our housemate had had his Macbook taken the week before and had ordered another – the new one was stolen on the day it arrived.

“They must have had a getaway driver because they took a safe which weighed at least 30kg. It was all done very professionally.”

Kate explained that the neighbours were no less unlucky, although their culprits were almost caught in the act.

“The next door house is two flats – each of them has been burgled once since we got here.”

“The other day a guy who lives with us saw some people climbing out of their window to make a getaway – he called the police, but it was too late.”

A bootprint left by one of the thieves

The students have ramped up their security, with added locks and alarms and the removal of the hedges around the house.

Police have promised the beleagured students that they will ramp up their patrols in the area.

Matt said that the added police presence could only go so far: “We’ve had some promises which obviously reassure us. But we can’t help but be worried.

“Being in the house alone now is pretty scary.”