Two street cleaning companies have been ordered to pay thousands after illegally tapping into Thames Water hydrants in Oxfordshire.

The directors of Centurion Power Cleaning and National Road Sweepers pleaded guilty last month to offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 and the Water Supply and Fitting Regulations 1999, which took place last year.

The companies were prosecuted by Thames Water after the company caught them using illegal standpipes to take water from hydrants across the county.

Marcus Rickard, managing director of Centurion Power Cleaning Ltd, and Munya Chiromo, operations director of National Road Sweepers Ltd, both appeared at Oxford Magistrates Court on March 26.

Rickard pleaded guilty to three offences in Wantage last July and must pay £4,516, while Chiromo admitted to two offences in Burford, Oxford, in August last year and was ordered to pay £3,378, almost £8,000 overall.

Claire Rumens, Thames Water’s illegal connections manager, said: “We work hard around the clock to cut leakage from our network and ask our customers to use water wisely, so it is not fair for others to take water without paying. 

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“Over the last few years, we’ve ramped up our work to find and stop illegal connections, uncovering hundreds of offences and saving millions of litres of water.

“While we will always look to work with individuals and companies and consider court action a last resort, we will not hesitate to prosecute repeat offenders.”

Oxford Mail:

Due to the climate crisis and population growth putting a strain on water resources, Thames Water has clamped down on those using water but not paying for it. 

Since 2017, Thames Water has recovered more than £500,000 from contractors, landowners and other third parties who illegally took water from hydrants.

In January, street-sweeping company Supa Sweep Ltd was ordered to pay almost £7,500 after illegally tapping into a Thames Water hydrant three times over the previous summer, despite having been warned by the water company for a similar offence in February 2019.

All of the money collected is reinvested by the water company back into crucial work to provide clean and wastewater services to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

Thames Water said that anyone found using a standpipe without permission will be given the opportunity to pay a charge and those who fail to pay and repeat offenders will be prosecuted. 

To report any water network abuse email or call customer service on 0800 980 8800.

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