A public body has successfully prosecuted not-for-profit Welsh Water for sewage pollution after a pipe burst – and left householders with a £52,000 bill.

Natural Resources Wales took the water firm to court after the escape into a tributary of the Emral Brook, at Penley, near Wrexham, in July 2018.

Welsh Water denied causing the pollution but was convicted by a district judge at Llandudno Court on Thursday.

Judge Gwyn Jones said warning systems in force at a treatment works “were not sufficiently robust” although the public weren’t impacted directly.

Steps were taken to remedy the problem and the pollution wasn’t due to cost-cutting.

A £40,000 fine was imposed with Welsh Water also ordered to pay £12,480 costs and a £170 surcharge.

Richard Kimblin, defending, told the court: "The decisions when to prosecute and when not to prosecute are entirely for NRW.”

He noted that one public body was effectively bringing proceedings against another.

Welsh Water said after the case: "Naturally we are disappointed with the verdict in this case.

“The burst occurred during extremely dry weather which led to very dry ground conditions which in turn caused a split on the pipe.

"As soon as we became of the situation we had a team despatched to the site to deal with the situation and carry out a repair.

“We take our commitment to protecting the environment seriously and over the past 15 years, we have invested more than £1 billion on improvements to our 30,000km sewer network - which is long enough to stretch to Australia and back. This has resulted in some of the best rivers and bathing waters in the UK.”