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Thief uses Google Earth to identify lead roofs

Criminal then sold material to scrap dealers

A thief used Google Earth to help locate buildings with lead roofs that he later stole.

Google Earth offers aerial photographs of locations across the world. Tom Berge, a 27-year old builder, used the app to identify schools, museums and churches across London with lead roofs.

He would then steal the material and abseil down the side of the building, before selling the lead on to scrap metal dealers. Berge's efforts netted him nearly £100,000 in six months.

Honeywood Museum in Carshalton, Sutton High School for Girls and Croydon Parish Church were among the buildings targeted by Berge.

A friend of Berge's told the Telegraph: "He could tell the lead roofs apart on Google Earth as they were slightly darker than normal."

Berge, who pleaded guilty to theft, received an eight-month suspended sentence and 100 hours community service.

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See also: Five Google Earth holiday destinations


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