Four offenders have been “heavily fined” in court after illegally tapping into Thames Water’s supplies and stealing water.
The water company is ramping up pressure on water thieves as hundreds of thousands of litres are said to be lost every day as a result of individuals and companies illegally connecting into the network, with everything stolen classed as leakage.
Thames Water said two street cleaning companies, Kilgannon Street Care and Go Plant Fleet Services, pleaded guilty to multiple offences of using unauthorised and unlicensed standpipes across London and the Thames Valley, taking water from street connections.
Kilgannon Street Care, based in Deptford, was ordered to pay £9,000 last month – a driver was spotted filling his road sweeper with water from an unlicensed standpipe by a member of the public and further investigation by Thames Water found six other offences being carried out in London and Kent in 2018.
The company had previously admitted to four identical charges in 2017.
Leicester-based street cleaning company Go Plant Fleet Services pleaded guilty to five offences and was ordered to pay £8,500 after being caught taking water by Thames Water investigators.
The firm was initially caught four times in Banbury, London and Reading but a fifth charge was added when it was caught again in High Wycombe just days before representatives of the company were due to appear in court.
The court also heard how parent company Go Plant Ltd had been fined for exactly the same offence by four other water companies since 2013.
Claire Rumens, Illegal Connections Manager at Thames Water sad: “Both of these cases show Thames Water will prosecute people who illegally connect to our clean network, that the courts are taking these cases seriously and offenders will be made to pay significant fines.
“Illegally connecting to our network risks the safety, security and reliability of our supply to paying customers and the unaccounted for water stolen during illegal connections adds to our leakage figures.”
Thames Water also received video evidence of illegal supplies being installed to four new build homes in the Waltham Forest area in May 2018 and four flats in Stratford.