A company has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after being caught illegally tapping into Thames Water's network in High Wycombe.

Despite previously being warned by Thames Water, Quattro Plant Ltd was caught taking water using unauthorised equipment across the Thames Valley and Kent on seven occasions - including in High Wycombe.

The company pleaded guilty to multiple offences at Thames Magistrates’ Court and was told to pay more than £8,000.

Two of the incidents they pleaded guilty to happened at the Pine Trees development on Daws Hill Lane, High Wycombe - the first on December 12 last year and the second on April 12 this year.

Bucks Free Press:

Other incidents happened in Winnersh, Swanscombe and Dartford.

Any company wanting to take water from the network must obtain a licence and correct standpipe from the supplier - which in this area is Thames Water.

Failure to do so means not only is any water taken not paid for but there is no way of measuring how much is taken - so it all gets counted as leakage.

Staff from Thames Water had met with Quattro several times to discuss the issue but the company continued to take water without permission.

Stephen Johnston, a Thames Water investigator, said: “We will always look to work with companies to make sure they are working within the law but Quattro did not listen.

“While other operators do everything properly, it is not fair that some think the rules do not apply to them.

“This is something we take extremely seriously and we hope the level they have to pay sends out a message that this is not acceptable.”

Quattro, based in Stratford, admitted seven offences under the water industry act and was fined £4,267 as well as being ordered to pay costs of £3,671.55 along with a victim surcharge of £66.

Illegal connections are a growing problem for Thames Water with hundreds of thousands of litres of water thought to be lost each day - all of which is classed as leakage.

In February this year, 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.

Anyone who suspects water is being stolen from the network is asked to contact Thames Water. To report water network abuse, email illegalconnections@thameswater.co.uk or call customer service on 0800 980 8800.