A Moira man was given a 12 month conditional discharge when he was convicted at Lisburn Magistrates Court of causing damage to a water main.
In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, Gareth Dick from Wellington Parks was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,220.
Mr Dick pleaded guilty to the offence of ‘Interference with Works’ in relation to damaging a water main belonging to NI Water.
The pipe damaged was a high-pressure watermain carrying water from a water treatment plant to a reservoir and considerable work was required to isolate the pipe and to repair the damage.
Mr Dick was given a conditional discharge in respect of the offence and was ordered to pay £22 court costs in addition to £1,200 legal costs. Proceedings are also to be issued in order to recover the cost of repairing the damage to the watermain.
Following the case, a spokesperson for NI Water said: “NI Water takes any interference with its network very seriously and will seek to bring the perpetrators to court when identified. This is the first prosecution for this type of offence by NI Water.
“NI Water would like to highlight to the public that it is an offence to connect to the water or sewerage network without its consent. Not only can doing so have the potential to contaminate water supplies, but it can also lead to pollution incidents.
“NI Water would appeal to the public to be vigilant. If you are aware of anyone who has or is making an illegal connection to the sewerage or water network, or recklessly interfering with the freshwater system, we would urge you to report this to NI Water’s dedicated Waterline on 08457 440088.”