A road sweeper firm was fined £1,600 after its vehicles were filled without permission from the Thames Water main.
Priority Plant, which hires out sweepers nationwide, admitted charges of attaching a pipe or fitting to the main without consent in Bodicote last October.
The Grantham-based firm appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday afternoon, to be fined £1,600 by the justices and ordered to pay £2,160 in costs and surcharge.
READ MORE: Hosepipe bans to come as drought declared
The court appearance came as ministers formally declared a drought in the Thames Valley and seven other regions in England.
Thames Water, the company responsible for managing water and sewage systems in the region, had already announced earlier this week that it planned to bring in a hosepipe ban.
But the drought status announcement means that the government, Environment Agency and water companies will implement plans to deal with the water shortage – including formal hosepipe bans and drawing water from rivers.
As the magistrates dealt with the Bodicote case at the Speedwell Street courthouse on Friday, up the road in Cornmarket water board engineers dealt with a leak. Water could be seen bubbling from between cracks in the paving at lunchtime.
This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.
To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk
Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward