AN Oxford University academic who once climbed London’s Shard for his PhD has avoided jail for damaging railway property.

Dr Bradley Garrett, a researcher at the school of geography, joined a group of self-styled “place hackers” who explored off-limits corners of towns and cities.

Dr Garrett, who lives in Jericho, first hit the headlines in 2011 after climbing up the Shard to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks.

He told the Oxford Mail in 2012: “All of my work is about uncovering the hidden. But the urban exploration project proved that hidden places don’t have to be in a distant land.”

But in August 2012 he was arrested by British transport police, who also raided his Clapham home. He was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage during exploration of disused London Underground tunnels and railway stations.

On Wednesday Dr Garrett, 33, pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal damage to railway property. He was given a three-year discharge and ordered to pay £2,000 costs. The damage included removing a wing nut from a door and removing a board and replacing it again.

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