A business has admitted stealing water in High Wycombe less than a year after its sister company was punished for the same crime.

Go Plant Ltd, which hires out road sweepers, refuse vehicles and plant equipment, is one of four companies that have been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after being caught illegally tapping into Thames Water's network.

The latest incident in High Wycombe happened on July 25 this year in Kennedy Avenue, which is on the new Pine Trees development in Daws Hill Lane.

Go Plant Ltd admitted three offences less than a year after its sister company was convicted for the same crime.

It was ordered to pay almost £6,000 by Reading Magistrates’ Court on October 25. Thames Water prosecuted Go Plant Fleet Services Ltd in Feb 2019 for five identical crimes.

The same court also fined Nick Lang Constructions Services Ltd for a second time, Multi Skills Construction Services Ltd and Galamast Ltd for stealing water in other locations including Reading, Swindon, Wantage and Swanscombe.

In total, the companies, which operated across the Thames Water region, have been told to pay more than £16,000 after admitting a string of offences under the Water Industries Act 1991.

Any organisation which wants to take water from the network must first get a licence and use a special blue Thames Water standpipe.

Failure to do so means not only is the water not being paid for but the amount taken cannot be measured so is classed as leakage.

Stephen Johnston, investigator for Thames Water, said: “This is something we take incredibly seriously and these fines should send a strong message that taking water without paying for will not be tolerated.

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see some have not learned their lesson but we will continue to take action against those who continue to break the law.

“Thames Water will always look to work with companies to help them act properly but it’s unfair for them to flout the law while others are paying their fair share.”

In the last 18 months, more than 20 companies have been fined for illegally connecting to the network and taking water.

Any water taken using an unauthorised standpipe is classed as leakage and it is estimated hundreds of thousands of litres are lost every day because of it.

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.