Thames Water headquarters renamed with ’embarrassing’ sign

The scandal-hit water company, in the news again this week for illegal sewage discharges, is based at Clearwater Court on the bank of the River Thames in Reading.

But a crafty prankster snuck onto the site overnight this weekend to replace its flagship sign.

The new sign reads: “Thames Water: Dirtywater Caught”. 

Thames Water has been contacted for comment.

An onlooker said: “This is quite embarassing for Thames Water.” 

The man behind the water company’s new sign is Paul, a 72-year-old pensioner from the Isle of Wight. Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, he said: “I’m not a demonstrator or an agitator but I’ve been following the news and have been appalled by the amount of pollution that these water companies are getting away with discharging into our waterways – even when it’s not raining.

Reading Chronicle:

“I just hoped that as a solo piece of embarrassment might hit them over the knuckles and prompt them into behaving a bit better. The government isn’t doing anything to stop them.”

The retired graphic designer said the sign was taken down on Monday. He said: “There was a huge queue of cars going in on Monday morning so someone will have clocked it wasn’t correct and pulled it down.”

Explaining his reasonings behind the sign, he said: “It was the fact they are based at a site called Clearwater Court that really offended me. How on earth can they call it Clearwater Court and be one of the worst sewage outpourers?”

Paul’s mini protest comes at a time where strike and organised action is becoming increasingly more common – but he said he doesn’t agree with all methods.

“The acts of Just Stop Oil have been well publicised, but I tend to feel they attract a lot of bad publicity for themselves and don’t win many friends on side. I think that demonstrations need to be a bit more creative and localised.”

The utilities company, which supplies one in four people in Britain with water, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to illegally discharging waste back in July and was fined £3.3million. 

The court heard “millions of litres” of undiluted sewage was pumped into the Gatwick Stream and River Mole between Crawley in West Sussex and Horley in Surrey in 2017.

The spill turned the water “black” and killed more than 1,000 fish.

Updates to follow 

Reading Chronicle | West Berkshire