Firm prosecuted for using makeshift standpipe in Birmingham

Wednesday 6th February 2019

Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a Birmingham-based company for illegally using a makeshift standpipe in Birmingham.

L Healy Limited, of Broad Road, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to an offence of illegally accessing the Severn Trent network while not using an approved standpipe at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court. 

The company, which was caught last Summer, has been ordered to pay £2,105, made up of a £550 fine, £55 victim surcharge and £1,500 in costs.

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “This company showed a complete disregard to the law, and to the potential problems our customers could have faced by attaching a makeshift standpipe to our water network. This was massively irresponsible, and we’re really lucky these actions didn’t create bigger problems.

“It’s so important that anyone who needs to access the water network does so with the correct training and equipment. Not only can using the wrong type of standpipe cause our customers’ water to be murky or not there when they need it, 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