During the months of extremely dry weather back in the summer of 2018, Dennis (Haddenham) Limited repeatedly broke the law by illegally abstracting water from rivers for its potato crop. The company continually repeated the crime, despite being under investigation for the previous occasions. This happened during a time when there were restrictions on water use, in light of the unusually dry weather.
On one occasion, the company was found to have taken more than 5 million litres of water – enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools. On subsequent occasions, officers from the Environment Agency found abstraction pipes "gushing" with wasted water. In total, Environmental Agency officers and the internal drainage board witnessed the illegal activity at least six times.
A representative of the company admitted to the offences, but defended that they did not understand the terms of the licences they were using.
The court sanctioned the company with a fine of £4,000, costs of £3,680 and a victim surcharge of £181.