Wet wipes cost water companies £12 million a year

Wet wipes are causing thousands of "utterly hideous" blockages, costing millions of pounds a year, water companies have warned.

Sewage caused by the wipes can back up into homes and gardens, Thames Water said, with 3,500 blockages a month caused by wet wipes and flushed food fat.

Thames Water Catchment Engineer examines part of London's sewer network Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

The company said it was spending £12 million a year clearing blockages from sewers in London and the Thames Valley.

Rob Smith, chief sewer flusher, said: "Sewers are designed to take only loo roll, dirty water and human waste. Nothing else."