Birmingham company prosecuted for illegal hydrant use

Wednesday 25th September 2019

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a company based in Birmingham, for three offences relating to illegal hydrant use. 

Midland Tankers Ltd, of Erdington in Birmingham, pleaded guilty to all three offences at Nottingham Magistrates Court on Monday 23 September, after being caught accessing the network illegally on a building site in Bingham, Nottingham.  

The company illegally attached an unauthorised standpipe to the network, which not only prevented the recording of how much water taken, but also carried a risk to the water quality, as the standpipe did not have the correct fittings.

They now have been ordered to pay a total of £4,271 made up of fines of £1,600 for the three offences, costs of £2,605 and a victim surcharge of £66. 

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent said: “We had cautioned this company before, so they clearly knew what they were doing and showed a complete disregard to the potential problems they could have caused. By using an unauthorised standpipe is massively irresponsible, and we’re lucky that their actions didn’t cause our customers big problems. 

“It really is important that anyone who does need to access our hydrants, is properly trained and using the right equipment. Not only can it cause problems to the water supply, but if hydrants are broken it also means that the Fire Service cannot use them in an emergency.” 

Since 2016, Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted more than 125 offences and sent more than 200 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants.  

The company also has made it easier to spot those using illegal standpipes, as all authorised standpipes are now painted bright green with the Severn Trent logo on them.

“Anyone spotted using a hydrant that’s not bright green, with no logo on –they shouldn’t be accessing the network,” adds Dan. “We really don’t want anyone’s water to be affected by illegal hydrant use, so we’re working with businesses to make sure they have the correct training and equipment to do the job.” 

If anyone sees someone they believe is using an illegal standpipe from a Severn Trent hydrant, the company has issued the following advice:

•    Don’t approach them;

•    Note down the location and the date;

•    Make a note of the company name if possible;

•    Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if it can be done safely;

•    Send the details to