A company that was caught illegally tapping into Thames Water’s pipes to steal water in High Wycombe has been heavily fined in court.

Two street cleaning companies, Kilgannon Street Care and Go Plant Fleet Services – which was caught stealing water in High Wycombe - pleaded guilty to multiple offences of using unauthorised and unlicensed standpipes across London and the Thames Valley to take water from street connections.

Kilgannon and a parent company of Go-Plant have both been previously convicted of identical offences in recent years.

Thames Water says that hundreds of thousands of litres of water are lost every day because individuals and companies illegally connect to the network – with everything stolen classed as leakage.

National street-cleaning company Go Plant Fleet Services, based in Leicester, admitted five offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 on February 21 at Reading Magistrates’ Court after being caught taking water by Thames Water investigators.

The company was initially caught four times in Banbury, London and Reading but a fifth charge was added when they were caught again in High Wycombe just days before they were due to appear in court on the previous charges.

The court also heard how parent company Go Plant Ltd had been fined for exactly the same offence by four other water companies since 2013.

The company was ordered to pay £8,500 which included a £3,300 fine and £5,145 costs as well as a victim surcharge.

Meanwhile, Kilgannon Street Care, based in Deptford, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Water Industry Act 1991 at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to pay £9,000, which includes a £5,950 fine and £3,000 costs.

Steve Johnston, an investigator for Thames Water, said: “It was very disappointing to have to go to court again but we hope this sends out a powerful message. We work 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.

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

The prosecutions come on the back of two more cases of water theft which saw several landlords fined for connecting properties to the local network without informing Thames Water.

Claire Rumens, illegal connections manager at Thames Water, said: “Both of these cases show Thames Water will prosecute people who illegally connect to our clean water network, that the courts are taking these cases seriously and offenders will be made to pay significant fines.

“Illegally connecting to our network risks the safety, security and reliability of our supply to paying customers, and the unaccounted for water stolen during illegal connections adds to our leakage figures.”