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Severn Trent prosecutes Derbyshire based company for the second time for illegal hydrant use 

Friday 23 March 2018

 Severn Trent has successfully prosecuted a company for illegal hydrant use for the second time yesterday.

Leedale Ltd, of Lydford Rd, Alfreton, was prosecuted at Derby Magistrates Court after being caught illegally taking water from the Severn Trent network again, on three different occasions. Once in September 2017, and twice this year in February. 

The company pleaded guilty and has now been ordered to pay £4,784.02, made up of a £1,500 fine, costs of £3,234.02 and a victim surcharge of £50.  

This is the second time the company has found itself in trouble with Severn Trent, after it was prosecuted for the same offence in June 2017, where it was ordered to pay a total of £5,299 including costs. 

Dan Littlewood, from Severn Trent, said: “We’re really happy with the outcome today. We had thought the company would’ve learned its lesson first time round, but it continued to break the law and has been caught again.

“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 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 47 companies and written more than 160 warning letters to firms that have been caught illegally using hydrants.

“To make it easier to spot those using our hydrants illegally, we’ve teamed up with Aquam Water Services,” said Dan. “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 waterregulations@severntrent.co.uk

In addition to the new standpipes, Severn Trent has also been busy fitting tens of thousands of new locking caps to hydrants which can only be unlocked with special equipment. To date, more than 30,000 caps have been fitted across the network.  This should put an end to people using and opening the hydrants without permission, making water supplies across the region much more secure.

Dan added: “Illegal hydrant use is one of the major causes of discoloured water in the Severn Trent region as the draw of water through the hydrant can disturb harmless sediment that normally sits at the bottom of the pipe.  If customers do ever experience their water being discoloured, simply run the first mains fed tap at a gentle rate for 20 minutes and the water should clear.  You may need to do this a few times to completely clear the water.  It’s nothing to worry about, and this simple advice may avoid the need for you to call us.”

For more information about discoloured water visit http://www.stwater.co.uk

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