THEY'RE the beloved characters whose wide-eyed wonder in the hit film Despicable Me delighted viewers - and they helped bring a Southampton pervert to justice.

Qilei Ren, 23, used his phone, complete with a bright yellow Minion cover, to spy on fellow students while they were in the shower.

The actions of Ren, pictured below, were described as a "grave violation" by Judge Peter Henry after Southampton Crown Court heard that he spied on two women while living in halls at the University of Southampton.

One of the women was in the shower and noticed a phone poking over the top with a cover bearing a yellow Minion but decided not to call the police after discussing the incident with friends.

Only days later a different woman had an identical experience and raised the alarm.

Police conducted a search and arrested Ren - who goes by the name "Randy Ren" on his Facebook profile - and found 47 photographs of the two victims naked in the shower.

Initially he claimed he took the pictures simply to prove it was possible but later admitted they were for sexual gratification.

One of the women was so traumatised by the incident that she has since left her course and moved to a different university.

Judge Henry said: "This is not an offence where people were subjected to physical contact but nonetheless what you did was a grave violation so far as these two women are concerned.

"It's hardly surprising that they felt uncomfortable and paranoid and violated.

"You could only have done that for your own sexual gratification and there's some recognition that this is the reason for it.

"It's quite clear that both these women have been significantly affected by what you did."

The court was told that Ren was studying at the university on a one-year computer science course and only days ago submitted his final paper towards getting a master's degree.

He had initially planned to stay in the city and complete a PhD but dropped this idea after being arrested.

In mitigation the court heard that Ren, who is originally from China, had become isolated and lonely during his studies.

Victoria Hill, representing Ren, said: "He felt regret and was disgusted with himself and deleted the pictures from his phone.

"He said it was a relief when he was arrested because the conduct he pursued was not right and he said he made wrong decisions and needs to pay for them."

Judge Henry sentenced Ren, who pleaded guilty to two charges of voyeurism, to six months in prison.