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Thames Water cracks down on serial water theft firm

Monday 5th July 2021 13:44

Go Plant Ltd was prosecuted for illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants in the Thames Valley

Go Plant Ltd was prosecuted for illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants in the Thames Valley

A street sweeping company has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 after being taken to court for illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants in the Thames Valley for the third time in three years.

Go Plant Ltd was prosecuted after the water company caught workers using illegal standpipes to take water from hydrants in Didcot, Swindon and Shinfield between October and March.

Appearing at Reading Magistrates Court, the firm pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 and the Water Supply and Fitting Regulations 1999. It was ordered to pay fines of £4,666, along with costs of more than £6,000.

The company was previously taken to court twice in 2019 over eight similar offences and was ordered to pay more than £6,000.

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.

“We’re disappointed that we’ve had to take this company to court again so soon after their previous offences and hope this time the message will get through that we will not tolerate illegal connections on our network.”

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.

Since 2017, Thames Water has recovered more than £500,000 from contractors, landowners and other third parties who illegally took water from hydrants.

In March, four companies; J Ffrench, Quattro Plant, Centurion Power Cleaning and National Road Sweepers, were ordered to pay a combined £18,000 after illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants across London and the Thames Valley.

All the money is reinvested back into crucial work to provide clean and wastewater services to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

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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