Three firms fined for water theft in south west
South West Water is urging businesses not to steal water from its public supply network, after three firms were prosecuted and fined for doing so.
Devon Tarmasters Ltd, Harris and Harris Construction Ltd, and Choice Render Ltd were all prosecuted at Exeter Magistrates Court last month.
Devon Tarmasters Ltd, a civil engineering and surfacing company based in Newton Abbot, was fined £400 and ordered to pay around £1,000 in costs for the illegal abstraction of water from South West Water's network in Marsh Barton, Exeter, on 19 July 2016.
Manchester rendering company Choice Render Ltd was ordered to pay fines, costs and compensation totalling over £2,000 for the illegal abstraction of water in Paignton on 24 August 2016 and a second offence in Okehampton on 17 October 2016.
Harris and Harris Construction Ltd, a civil engineering company based in Bridgwater, was ordered to pay fines and costs of £1,510 for using an unauthorised standpipe connected to a non-designated hydrant while working on a housing development near Poltimore, just outside Exeter, in July and August 2016.
Bob Taylor, South West Water's Operations Director for Drinking Water Services, said: "Connecting unauthorised standpipes to our network is an issue we take very seriously.
"It creates a potential risk to water quality, which could result in public health issues and damage our infrastructure. It can also interfere with our customers' supplies or fire service activities. We monitor the use of our network closely and will take action against anyone who is detected making unauthorised use of a standpipe."
South West Water says that a standpipe hire service run by Aquam Water Services is available for organisations to take water at approved locations, for example when charities and community organisations are holding outdoor events. However, only authorised standpipes can be connected to South West Water's infrastructure at approved locations, and unauthorised use could result in a fine of up to £3,000 for each incident.
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