Thames water has been fined a record £20.3m after it admitted pumping 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage into the Thames.
People and animals were left sick and hundreds of fish and birds died over a two-year period when "out of control" sewage treatment centres owned by Thames Water, sent untreated water into rivers in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
The company allowed more than a billion litres of untreated effluent to enter the waterway in 2013 and 2014.
The judge described it as a disgraceful level of Pollution after people and animals became ill and thousands of fish died.
Judge Francis Sheridan handed down a fine of £20,361,140 - a record for a water utility for an environmental disaster - at a sentencing hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court today.
Judge Sheridan handed down a fine which is ten times higher than the previous record penalty paid by Southern Water
This is a shocking and disgraceful state of affairs. It should not be cheaper to offend than to take appropriate precautions.
The company admitted 13 breaches of environmental laws over discharges from sewage treatment works in Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a pumping station at Littlemore.
Levels of ammonia described as being "devastating to life" were detected during tests on the river at a Thames Water site at Henley-on-Thames before 50 dead fish were spotted floating on the surface of the river.
At a hearing last week, the judge said he had to ensure the fine was"sufficiently large that they (Thames) get the message"
Thames's previous record fine for pollution was £1 million, paid in January 2016.
The sentencing followed a ruling in March 2016 that big commercial. organisations which cause environmental pollution can be ordered to pay fines running into tens of millions of pounds.
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