police not interested in theft of water

Discussion in 'Lounge & Gossip' started by jimjams, Wednesday 26th Aug, 2015.

  1. jimjams Guest

    I noticed a silver hatch-back car, with a short odd-looking trailer, pull up.

    The driver got out, lifted the hatch, put a brick behind a wheel of the trailer, and then went over to a hydrant cover and removed it. Then, from a selection of stand-pipes in the back of the car, he took one out and screwed it quickly into the hydrant. The stand-pipe had a hose already attached, and a tap at the top. He then stuck the hose into the trailer and turned on the tap.

    I rang 999 and expected to be told to ring 101, but they did put me through to the police national line. I told them what was happening, they asked where it was, and the reg number of the car. But the chap was so quick, that I could see that he was already turning off the tap. Before my call ended, he was already unscrewing the stand-pipe, so they said that they would notify police cars in the area to look out for the car.

    I knew that the regional water authority were doing some work about half a mile away, so I went to them and told them what had happened. They said that they knew nothing about it, and since it was an unmarked car, it was probably theft. Just then my phone rang. It was the police in my area, thanking me for the call, but they said that it was not something they would get involved in, and that they would pass the info over to the water authority. I said that I was talking to a couple of chaps from the water authority who agreed with me that it sounded like theft, but the person on the phone still said that they would pass it over to the water authority.

    The chaps told me that this was probably not unusual, as builders and "caravan people" (not their words) were always stealing water. I always wondered where "caravan people" got their water from. Now I know, and since the police aren't interested, maybe we should all put stand-pipes in the road and just help ourselves.
  2. Zebster Guest

    I'm surprised the water companies aren't more interested.
  3. jimjams Guest

    I guess that the water company would have to take him to County Court, but they would need to find him. Even if the police give the name and address of the registered keeper of the car, all he has to say is that a mate borrowed the car that day. Then the water company needs me as a witness, and I'm not going to go to County Court to force a "traveler" to cough up for some water, because I don't want to then find my house splatted with eggs early one morning (assuming that witnesses are required to divulge name and address). Likewise with the police and a magistrates court.

    The only way would be for the police to catch him "in the act", which is extremely unlikely. The car/trailer was parked straddling the kerb, right up by the hydrant cover (I only realised what it was when he screwed on the stand-pipe). The stand-pipe looked to be about 2 inch diameter, and the hose was a bit more, a clear perspex hose. Probably delivers several gallons per minute. I would say it took him 30 seconds to attach the stand-pipe, and the same to remove it. He was there about 5 minutes total, so about 4 minutes' worth of water. As a one-off its nothing, but overall travelers require quite a lot of water.

    I would also think that most people would not have even realised what was happening if they saw it. I only realised because I happened to have the perfect view-point. If the the same hydrant is used again, I won't be there to see it, so this probably goes un-noticed 99.999 % of the time.
    - - - Updated - - -
    I just googled "fire hydrant flow rate": looks like 2,000 litres per minute at 1.7 bar, not sure his trailer could hold 8,000 litres, so my guesstimate of time taken is wrong, he could have been there less than 4 minutes in total.
  4. jimjams Guest

    He was a lot quicker than this

    he certainly wasn't taking this much water
    BBC News - Hydrant water theft seen on film

    people have been prosecuted in Yorkshire
    Yorkshire firms 'risking lives' in hydrant water thefts - BBC News

    you can use stand-pipes to get water, but you must have a permit, and the pipe has to have a meter attached
    Standpipe charges - Water supply services - Thames Water

    The chaps from the water authority that I spoke to did ask me if there was a meter on top of the stand-pipe, and I could clearly see that there was none. I now wish I had taken pictures, or a video, but I wasn't close enough and the zoom on my phone isn't brilliant.
  5. exec Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom London
    Most police forces are under budget and resource constraints, so they tend to prioritise the crimes they deal with, something like this would be on the low side in terms of investigating and actively clamping down.
  6. jimjams Guest

    I agree that this must be the lowest priority there ever could be. If I had known he was going to be so quick, I would not have bothered to get out my phone. I was in two minds when I called anyway, but he did look furtive, and he did seem to be in a hurry.