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Gravesend man fined for illegally accessing hydrant for his Sidcup kennels business

A business owner landed himself in hot water after he was caught illegally tapping into a roadside hydrant.

John Taylor, from Gravesend, admitted taking water to supply his animal boarding business in Sidcup last July.

The standpipe being used illegally on a fire hydrant in Kent Photo: Thames Water
The standpipe being used illegally on a fire hydrant in Kent Photo: Thames Water

It comes after an investigation by Thames Water which found he had used a standpipe to provide water to his industrial units at Pond Farm Kennels in Cocksure Lane.

The standpipe was removed only for the company to find a different one had been connected the following day.

Taylor pleaded guilty to three offences at Bexley Magistrates’ Court in a hearing held prior to the lockdown and was ordered to pay more than £1,300.

The fine is just a small fraction of the £450,000 Thames Water has recovered in the last three years from contractors, landowners and other third parties who illegally stole water from hydrants.

With climate change and population growth increasingly placing resources under stress, the water company said it was clamping down on such activities.

The unauthorised standpipe connection on a fire hydrant. Photo: Thames Water
The unauthorised standpipe connection on a fire hydrant. Photo: Thames Water

Anyone found using a standpipe without permission will be given the opportunity to pay a charge. Those who fail to pay and repeat offenders will be prosecuted.

If found guilty you can be charged thousands of pounds in fines and legal fees.

Money obtained is then reinvested back into work to provide clean and wastewater services to 15 million customers across London and the Thames Valley.

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

“Our work to find and stop illegal connections has ramped up in recent years, helping us to uncover hundreds of offences and save millions of litres of water, but there is still more to do.

“We will always look to work with individuals and companies before going to court but if lessons are not learnt then we have no hesitation about taking further action.”

To report any water network abuse email illegalconnections@thameswater.co.uk or call customer service on 0800 9808800.

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