Tributes have been paid to snake handler Gerard “Jed” Edge, who died in a house fire on Friday.

Mr Edge was a well-known animal enthusiast who supplied snakes and reptiles for the Steven Spielberg film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The 82-year-old died in a fire in his flat in Benhill Wood Road, Sutton, at about 10pm on April 12.

Neighbours tried to save him, but the flames were too intense and by the time firefighters were able to get the blaze under control at about 11pm, he had died.

Mr Edge, a keen angler, was a member of the Morden Hall Park Angling Club and Wandle Piscators.

Theo Pike, a friend and fellow angler from the Wandle Piscators, said: “He was immensely popular with all members of the club, especially the younger anglers and did a lot of mentoring of young anglers in the Mitcham area.

“He was keen to get the next generation involved in looking after the river as he thought that was important for the future.”

As a member of the angling club, Mr Edge would often be on call 24-hours-a-day should someone need a commemorative snap of an extra large catch.

Mr Pike said: “If anybody caught an extra large fish and wanted it photographed for the club’s records he would be on call to come down with a camera.

“He was incredibly committed to angling, not just enjoying it himself, but helping others to enjoy it too.

“He was hugely well respected and was one of the stalwarts of the Wandle Valley and he will be missed tremendously.”

Mr Edge got involved with Hollywood when film director Spielberg held a casting in London.

He took a cobra with him and, although Spielberg asked him to keep the snake well away from him, he was recruited to supply snakes and lizards for the film.

Police are investigating the fire, but say they are treating it as non-suspicious.