Google Earth helps lead roof thief plot crimes

From The Independent 16/03/09:

“The highly detailed satellite images provided by Google Earth opened a unique window on the world when it was launched in 2005, one that proved all too enticing for roofer Tom Berge; he used the website to hunt down a fortune in scrap metal on the roofs of historic buildings near his home in London.

Berge, 27, stole lead worth £100,000 from schools, churches, museums and other large buildings during a six-month spree that began in September last year. He used the website to identify the lead roofs by their darker colour. He was sentenced to eight months in prison – suspended for two years – after confessing to more than 30 offences.”

Google Earth- Lead Roof copyThis reminds me of that classic Only Fools and Horses episode – you know, with the miraculous weeping statue which turns out to be rain dripping through (caused by Del Boy pilfering the lead from the roof).   Admittedly Google Earth didn’t form part of the storyline but it was back in the 70s, I guess. 

Seemingly innocuous technology has always been, and always will be, put to mischievous uses.  That’s just plain old human nature for you.  There’s not a great deal that Google could do to regulate this either.  Still, I sure there’s somebody out there in the ‘sphere who will be clamouring for Google to pixelate or otherwise obscure the roofs on web-base map services etc etc.  You’ll be pleased to to hear, though, faithful readers, that that somebody isn’t me.  


  1. I feel sorry for Google. They get blamed for everything nowadays... It's like when they wanted to ban Google Earth in India because, it was argued, it can be used by terrorists to plot attacks - yeah; as if no one's ever heard of maps...

  2. Good point Andro. Have to say it's a first to hear someone feel sorry for Google but I definitely take your point. Pity the poor monolith, eh? Maybe all the Microsoft-haters could learn a thing or two.

  3. GOOGLE is responsible for every thing lolz.


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