Severn Trent has prosecuted a company for illegally using a hydrant in Warwick.
National Road Sweepers Ltd, from Whaddon Farm in Leighton Buzzard, was prosecuted at Leicester Magistrates Court after being caught illegally taking water from the Severn Trent network on four different occasions.
This happened once in Othello Drive in Warwick, once in Bromsgrove and twice across Leicestershire.
The company pleaded guilty and has now been ordered to pay £6,455.20 including costs.
Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “We’re really happy with the outcome today, as it’s just not right that these companies believe they’re above the law.
“Our customers have to pay for water, so they should to and not only are they not paying for it, there’s also the chance that they can cause the water supply to be murky or even cause our customers to have no water at all, which just isn’t fair.
“Whether it’s for cooking, cleaning or just having a cup of tea, it’s really important that water’s there when you need it.
“It’s also important to remember that the Fire and Rescue service also relies on our hydrants being available in an emergency, and people using them illegally can result in the hydrants breaking and, if that happens, it could put lives at risk.”
Since the start of 2016 Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted 46 companies and written more than 160 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants.
Dan continued: “To make it easier to spot those using our hydrants illegally, we’ve teamed up with Aquam Water Services.
“This now means all of our authorised standpipes are painted bright green and feature the Severn Trent and Aquam logos. So, if anyone sees our hydrants being used by someone using anything other than a bright green standpipe, please let us know.”
If anyone sees someone they believe is using an illegal standpipe from a Severn Trent hydrant:
• Don’t approach them;
• Note down where they are and when it is;
• Make a note of the company name;
• Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if you can do it safely; and then
• Send the detail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Severn Trent has also fitted more than 30,000 new locking caps to hydrants which can only be unlocked with special equipment.