Amorous Briton floods squatted Riviera villa
A British fantasist who sneaked into a French luxury villa to prepare it for a romantic night ended up facing charges after flooding the property, police said Wednesday.
Alexander Thomas, a raffish 31-year-old from Manchester in northwest England, boasts of being a top golfer but lives in his car on the French Riviera, a millionaire's playground of luxury seafront resorts.
On December 8, he climbed into a sumptuous holiday property with wooded terraces overlooking the coast in exclusive Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.
He pulled lawn furniture out of a cabin in the grounds and set up a "love bed" surrounded by rose petals, oranges, lemons and champagne bottles on a deck by an as yet unfilled swimming pool, police said.
Thomas decorated a balustrade with posters of his idols: a young woman, the Manchester United football team and the children's character Winnie-the-Pooh, before raising the black pirate's banner over the scene.
After practising his golf swing on the lawns, he turned on taps and showers to fill the pool and left them running while setting off to meet a woman.
Unfortunately, the lady in question -- an American -- turned up three hours late for her date, already drunk, and refused to return with Thomas.
When he returned to the villa at 1.00 am he found the son of the owner, an Italian businessman based in Monaco, had returned from a trip to Africa -- and that the pool had overflowed and partially flooded the villa.
In addition to inundating a corridor and stairwell, the flood damaged a water heater and ruined a collection of unique original cinema posters.
On his arrest, Thomas told police: "The Cote d'Azur is so beautiful."
Thomas spent the night in custody and has been ordered to return to face a judge and possible charges next year.
This was not the first time he has been in trouble in the region. In November he spent eight days in jail in the Principality of Monaco, after spending a night in a luxury hotel and skipping without paying.
This may not have been too gruelling an ordeal, however. Monaco's tiny jail clings to the rocky promontory under its royal palace and famous oceanographic museum, with delightful views over the blue waters of the Med.
© 2011 AFP