An "obsessive loner" embarked on a computer hacking spree that netted him tens of thousands of pounds.

Alistair Peckover broke into Google and BT websites to steal bank details, fool people out of cash and scam gambling websites.

Now 21, he is beginning a 20-month prison term and the gold bars and Porsche he bought with his profits are being seized.

Police said he had “obvious talents”, designing his own software to carry out his scams and feed a gambling habit.

Peckover, who had six computers, hacked into wireless internet supplier BT Openzone and stole the details of about 500 people.

He then redirected their private “googlemail” and “gmail” emails to himself and monitored what they were doing on their own computers until they unwittingly gave away their bank details.

One victim ended up paying Peckover their rent instead of their landlord; another paid him money when they were trying to buy a car; others had their credit cards used to buy gifts.

He also used their identities to create accounts with gambling firms – before hacking into gaming websites and rigging the systems.

He raised thousands of pounds with virtual dog-racing, then chanced the profits on unfixed games of computer roulette or cards.

Detective Constable Des Hamilton, of the Sussex Police major fraud unit, said: “This is a classic example of a self-taught obsessive loner with real computer skills but no concern for his impact on other people.

“Peckover used his skills to systematically defraud legitimate on-line businesses and unsuspecting members of the public.

“He was caught time and again but seemed completely uncaring about others. We hope that this sentence will help him use his obvious talents for more honest activity.”

Peckover, who lived in Sheppey Close, Broadfield, Crawley, before moving to London Road, Hailsham, was caught in 2008 after hacking into spread betting sites, and received a suspended 26-week sentence.

He carried on defrauding Ladbrokes and Skybet, funnelling the profits into several personal bank accounts.

After complaints from the gambling firms, police visited his home and found £40,000 in sterling and Euro notes stuffed into containers.

He had a Porsche and £30,000 in small gold bars, as well as luxury items like Breitling and Rolex watches.

He eventually admitted two counts of fraud and asked for 50 others to be taken into consideration, as well as breaching his suspended sentence.

Police notified both Google and BT about the scams and said their security arrangements have been changed since the crimes.

Officers are now looking deeper into Peckover’s finances and plan to apply to a court to seize more of his criminal profits.

After the sentencing at Southend Crown Court yesterday, DC Hamilton said: "The message for genuine computer users is to routinely check the security you hold on your home computers. Importantly, do not download something unless you are certain that it is safe.

“This is how these hackers access your computer. Also, and as important, change the passwords you hold periodically, particularly on financial sites and email accounts."