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Thames Water clamps down on water theft firms

Wednesday 18th August 2021 11:18

Sivyer Concrete Ltd, Liquiline Ltd, DB Cargo Ltd and Midland Tankers were all fined for illegally taking water from hydrants.

Sivyer Concrete Ltd, Liquiline Ltd, DB Cargo Ltd and Midland Tankers were all fined for illegally taking water from hydrants

Four companies have been ordered to pay more than £23,000 between them after being prosecuted for illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants across London and the Thames Valley.

Sivyer Concrete Ltd, Liquiline Ltd, DB Cargo Ltd and Midland Tankers all appeared in court in the last month after the water company caught workers using illegal standpipes to take water from hydrants. They all pleaded guilty to offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 and Water Fittings (Supply) Regulations 1999.

Since 2017, Thames Water has recovered more than £500,000 from contractors, landowners and other third parties who illegally took water from hydrants. All the money is reinvested back into essential work to provide clean and wastewater services to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

With climate change and population growth putting a strain on water resources, the UK’s largest water company has clamped down on those using water but not paying for it.

Claire Rumens, Thames Water’s illegal connections manager, said: “We work hard around the clock to cut leakage from our network and ask our customers to use water wisely, so it is not fair for others to take water without paying.

“Over the last few years, we’ve ramped up our work to find and stop illegal connections, uncovering hundreds of offences and saving millions of litres of water. While we will always look to work with individuals and companies and consider court action a last resort, we will not hesitate to prosecute repeat offenders.

“Some of these companies had previously been warned about taking water and we’re disappointed that we’ve had to take them to court. We hope this time the message will get through that we will not tolerate illegal connections on our network.”

Sivyer Concrete appeared at Bexley Magistrates Court on July 23 accused of using unauthorised standpipes in Westmoor Street and Herringham Road in south-east London between November 2020 and April this year. The second offence was just 15 metres from the company’s depot.

The firm, which was warned for similar offences in 2019, pleaded guilty to two offences and was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £100 and costs of almost £4,000.

Liquiline appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on July 7 and pleaded guilty to two offences at the M40 Industrial Estate in High Wycombe in 2020. It was ordered to pay a £2,668 fine, a victim surcharge of £190 and costs of more than £3,000.

DB Cargo and Midland Tankers appeared at Oxford Magistrates Court on July 30 and August 11 respectively. DB Cargo pleaded guilty to taking water from a hydrant outside its depot in Basil Hill Road, Didcot in October last year. The firm, which was warned and retrospectively charged for offences at the same location in 2019, was fined £660 and must also pay costs of more than £5,700.

Midland Tankers, represented in court by director Lee Murray, also pleaded guilty to taking water from a housing development in Sycamore Rise, Thame, and was fined £700 with costs of more than £5,000. The company was prosecuted in 2019 for a similar offence in Banbury.

Anyone found using a standpipe without permission will be given the opportunity to pay a charge. Those who fail to pay and repeat offenders will be prosecuted.

To report any water network abuse email illegalconnections@thameswater.co.uk or call customer service on 0800 980 8800. Find out more about obtaining Thames Water standpipes.

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