Gerry Cottle's WOW Circus fined for illegal use of standpipe
Circus bosses have been fined thousands of pounds for flouting water rules by using an unauthorised standpipe to get water.
South West Water took Gerry Cottle's Circus Ltd, trading as Gerry Cottle's WOW Circus, to court last week.
Only authorised standpipes can be connected to South West Water's infrastructure at approved locations.
Court action came after the circus company used the standpipe to get water from hydrants in Alphington, Exeter, and Hayle, Cornwall, in July 2012 without permission from the water giant.
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At Exeter Magistrates' Court, Gerry Cottle's Circus Ltd, who did not attend the hearing, were fined a total of £5,400 with £1,620 on top in court costs.
The court noted the seriousness of the offences and in particular the real risk of contaminating the public water supply.
Magistrates found that the offences in Hayle were aggravated because the circus had been advised by South West Water they were committing offences by using the standpipe and of the risks this created, but carried on regardless.
A spokesman for South West Water said: "Connecting unauthorised standpipes to our network is an issue we take very seriously.
"It creates a potential risk to water quality, which could result in public health issues, and could damage our infrastructure.
"It can also interfere with our operations or fire service activities."