Company prosecuted for illegal hydrant use in Cheltenham

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a company for illegal hydrant use in Cheltenham.

Cotswold Drain Services Ltd, based in Cotswold Yard in Gloucester Road, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to charges in relation to two separate incidents of illegal hydrant use at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, which constituted a total of six offences.

The company has now been ordered to pay a total of £4,445, made up of a £500 fine for each offence, a victim surcharge of £170, and costs of £1,275.

The incidents took place in May and July last year, and saw the company illegally taking water from the Severn Trent network using a standpipe with no meter and with incorrect fittings. This not only meant they accessed  the network when they shouldn’t have, they also didn’t pay for the water, and put water supplies at risk as they used an unfit standpipe.

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “Thanks to our customers reporting this to us, we were able to stop this company from potentially causing big problems to the water supply and they received a substantial fine from the court. Using the wrong type of standpipe means supplies could be at risk from contamination, as well as also possibly causing the water to be murky or not even there for our customers when they need it.

“It’s so important that anyone who needs to access the water network does so with the correct training and equipment, not only can it cause issues with the water, it can also carry huge implications for the Fire and Rescue Service if hydrants are broken and they can’t use them in emergencies.”

Since the start of this year Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted more than 80 companies and sent more than 180 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants. 

Dan added that Severn Trent is making it easier to spot illegal hydrants with all authorised standpipes now painted bright green and featuring the Severn Trent logo.

“We never want our customers water supplies to be at risk, so we’re really working hard to crack down on illegal hydrant use,” adds Dan. “We want to make sure our customers water is always there when they need it so we want businesses to use approved standpipes and work with us to have the proper training they need access to our hydrants correctly and legally.”

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

Any company needing to discuss their site water supply can email Dan and the team through