Leaky defence leads to prosecution for water pipe hacker

A building contractor who dug a trench through a public pavement so he could hack into a water pipe to increase the water pressure at a house he was making ‘improvements’ to has been prosecuted by Richmond Council.

The filled-in trench led straight to his customer’s front door in Buckingham Road, Hampton, and was spotted by a Richmond Council enforcement officer during a routine inspection in August last year.

Chung Soo Jung told Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court that at the time of the offence he was unaware that he was committing a crime – despite admitting that he did not seek permission from Richmond Council to dig up the pavement or request access to the water pipe from Thames Water.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of breaking open the public highway without permission at his Magistrates’ Court appearance last Tuesday.

During the court hearing Magistrates heard that Jung felt the repair work he had independently carried out by filling in the trench was ‘a good job’. He added that all he thought Richmond Council would need to do would be to ‘inspect the pavement’. However repair work was needed and Jung reimbursed the Council of the £107 costs when the work was carried out.

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene, Cllr Peter Buckwell, said:

“This is a very special case and seems to have been caused by a certain naivety on the part of Mr Chung Soo Jung. I don’t imagine however, there are many people who live in the borough who think this kind of behaviour is either acceptable or lawful.

“It does serve as a reminder to the select few who think it is all right to carry out work on a public highway without any kind of permission or insurance that they certainly aren’t permitted to do so.”

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