Thief uses Google Earth to hunt for valuable lead roofs

A thief who used Google Earth to search for valuable lead roofs was sentenced to an eight-month suspended sentence last week.

A thief who used Google Earth to search for valuable lead roofs was sentenced to an eight-month suspended sentence last week.

Roofer Tom Berge used the internet to look for Grade-A listed buildings with lead roofs, because he knew their listed status meant they would have to replace missing lead with the same material.

His victims included churches, schools, businesses and residential properties in a crime spree that ran from September 2008 to February 2009.

Berge, 27, of Rosehill, Sutton, Surrey, made a total of £44,500 from selling 44.5 tonnes of lead stolen from roofs.

The properties hit included Sutton High School for Girls and the Honeywood Museum, Carshalton, where £10,000 worth of lead was removed from the roof of each building. Another building hit was Croydon Parish Church where the theft of lead from its roof let in the rain and caused extensive damage.

Berge pleaded guilty at Sutton magistrates court and received an eight month suspended sentence.

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