Phone and broadband company Virgin Media has been fined £14,300 “for endangering the lives of residents and motorists” after it was prosecuted by Richmond Council for carrying out unsafe street works.
The case was brought after the firm’s contractors failed to erect safety barriers around manhole covers and to put up signs advising motorists of the works being carried out.
Magistrates heard how this caused cars to weave “around open manhole covers to avoid crashing and hitting Virgin Media contractors”. The incident rook place in Petersham Road on 18 June 2013.
The Council says its staff “had no choice” but to stop the work when the contractors were found “to be risking their lives and the lives of residents and motorists.”
Appearing before Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court, Virgin Media pleaded guilty to 15 street work offences.
It also admitted that contractors were caught returning to the site the following day “to carry out the work unlawfully without a permit” when council staff again caught them carrying out the works in a non-compliant manner.
The company was fined a total of £14,300 together with the Council’s costs.
In mitigation on behalf of Virgin Media Ltd, Alexander Tampakopoulos told the court the company “regretted non-compliance”.
Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Cllr Chris Harrison, said: “I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to companies that carry out work in our roads across Richmond. The Council will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who poses a risk to our residents and motorists.”
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “Our contractors did not comply with the high standards we set for everyone who works on behalf of Virgin Media and we regret, and apologise for, the concern caused to local residents.”