FM Conway has been fined almost £8,000 for illegally using fire hydrants while carrying out roadworks.
A Westminster judge handed down the fine after FM Conway workers were caught using fire hydrants without the correct paperwork on two separate occasions by Thames Water inspectors.
Speaking at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Michael Snow said this could have damaged the hydrants or reduced their pressure, putting the public at risk.
FM Conway pleaded guilty to three offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 and was ordered to pay a fine of £4,950, costs of £2,750 and a victim surcharge of £170.
Thames Water investigators caught FM Conway workers connecting to fire hydrants with illegal standpipes in September 2018 in New Bond Street and Cork Street. FM Conway was then caught doing the same thing two months later in Kilburn.
Since 2011, the number of illegal connections to the Thames Water network has risen from 33 to 700 a year in 2017 – costing Thames millions of litres of water. The dedicated investigations squad was set up in 2011 to crack down on the practice.
Stolen water is classed as leakage for Thames, who have pledged to reduce the amount of leakage under their AMP7 funding cycle business plans.
Thames Water investigator Steve Johnston said: “Illegally connecting to a fire hydrant is incredibly irresponsible and we’re pleased the judge highlighted this. We’re working round-the-clock to reduce leakage and asking customers to save water as our population increases and climate changes, so it is completely unreasonable for companies to behave in this way.
“We’ll always look to work with companies to help them comply with the law but where lessons are not learnt we will take stronger action,” he added.
A FM Conway spokesperson said: “We accept the judge’s ruling and recognise that the high standards we expect of our teams were not followed in these instances.
“Prior to the case being heard, we have already moved to put in place additional safeguards to prevent activity of this type occurring in the future.”
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