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Plymouth firm fined again for putting public water supply at risk

18th February 2014

A Plymouth firm has been convicted for a second time for illegally taking water from South West Water's network.

South West Water has previously urged customers to take advantage of its standpipe hire service rather than run the risk of prosecution, but last week Cranheath Transport, based at Burrington Way in Honicknowle, made its second appearance in court for unauthorised use of hydrants.

The transport firm contravened the Water Industry Act 1991 section 174 after using an unauthorised standpipe to access the water supply via a hydrant in Brest Road, Plymouth.

A member of the public called South West Water to say they had observed a tanker withdrawing water from the hydrant in Brest Road on several occasions, and that they suspected the abstractions were being made illegally. The driver was caught red-handed by a South West Water employee at the same location in August 2013.

Plymouth Magistrates Court fined the transport company £1,000 for each of the three offences at a hearing on Friday 14 February 2014. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £1,901.80.

In May 2012, Cranheath Transport paid £3,291 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to three similar offences committed in 2011.  

A spokesman for South West Water 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 could damage our infrastructure. It can also interfere with our operations or fire service activities. We monitor the use of our network closely and will take action against anyone who makes unauthorised use of a standpipe."

Only authorised standpipes can be connected to South West Water's infrastructure at approved locations. Unauthorised use could result in a fine of up to £3,000 for each incident.

To help all customers, including charities and community organisations holding outdoor events, South West Water has set up a special standpipe hire service with Jewson. For your nearest branch call 01392 446068 or 01726 68233 or visit http://www.jewson.co.uk/branch-locator/

Published: 18 February 2014

For further information please contact:

Press Office
South West Water