A thief who used Google Earth to target buildings with lead tiles has been sentenced to jail after he was caught stealing for the second time to fund his champagne lifestyle.

Tom Berge, 27, of Thornton Heath, was spotted by police running across a roof in Central Road, Worcester Park on Saturday April 4 and was later arrested in Longfellow Road.

At Sutton Magistrates Court on Monday, April 6 Berge pleaded guilty to stealing lead and also admitted stealing a ladder from a vehicle in Station Approach, Cheam, on March 6.

Magistrates sentenced Berge, who gave a hotel address in Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, to 12 months' prison.

Receiving his sentence, Berge said: “Cool. No worries. Thank you.”

The sentencing follows an earlier eight-month suspended jail term, 100 hours of community service and a curfew order imposed on Berge on March 11 after he was found guilty of stripping £100,000 of valuable lead from grade A listed historic buildings.

During the hearing Berge declared to magistrates that his life of crime was behind him.

However, in subsequent conversations with police, Berge revealed how he was finding it difficult to give up the money he got from stealing lead to fund his “champagne lifestyle in posh hotels”.

Among the buildings he stole from in the six-month spree were Honeywood Museum in Carshalton, Sutton High School for Girls and Croydon Parish Church.

Magistrates heard how Berge would find a potential target on the popular internet tool, which shows aerial photographs of towns across the world, to pinpoint buildings with lead roof tiles.

He would then scale its roof, take the valuable roof materials and abseil down the side of the building, before selling the lead to scrap metal dealers.

Berge admitted using his computer to carry out more than 30 separate offences.

Google Earth is a virtual computer-generated globe launched in 2005.

It provides 3D views of the planet and allows you to zoom in on towns at street level.

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