News

We've successfully prosecuted a Leicestershire company for illegal standpipe use

20th October 2016

A Leicestershire company has been fined thousands of pounds after being found guilty of illegally using our hydrants in the county.

Go Plant Limited of Leicester Road, Ibstock was ordered to pay £4,064, including costs at Leicester Magistrates Court yesterday (19 October 2016).The company had been caught several times using an illegal standpipe to take water from our hydrants for their own purposes without permission or payment, activity that can lead to damage to the hydrants, loss of supply or discoloured water for customers.

Dan Littlewood, water fittings senior technician, said: “Illegal use of our hydrants is a real problem for us and so for our customers. Anyone who illegally uses a hydrant is only thinking of themselves and not of the potential effect on our customers – no-one wants discoloured water because a company decides that it’s above the law.  Also, why should these people be able to get water for free, when we all have to pay for it?

“While it is important that we prosecute companies who do break the law, we recognise the very considerable efforts that Go Plant have now made to ensure compliance and we hope that other companies will follow their lead.  They have now agreed to hire 85 standpipes from us so going forward there’ll hopefully be no more issues.”

Since the start of 2016, we've successfully investigated more than 70 instances of illegal use of our hydrants – with many of these investigations leading to formal cautions or even criminal prosecutions.

We're now calling on our customers to be our eyes and ears by keeping a lookout for unauthorised use that can lead to discoloured water for thousands of homes and businesses.

And, to make it easier to spot illegal use, we've joined forces with Aquam Water Services to make sure that all authorised standpipes are painted bright green and feature the Severn Trent and Aquam logos.

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 details of the vehicle;
  • Take a picture showing the vehicle and the standpipe attached if you can do it safely; and then
  • Send the detail to severntrentwater@waterservicesltd.com.

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

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