Thames Water has pulled down a sign renaming its Reading headquarters, "Dirtywater Caught". 

The troubled utilities company, that has been in the headlines for illegally discharging sewage, is based at its luxurious £43million offices, Clearwater Court.

As previously reported, a retired graphic designer fed up with the company's antics decided to pull a prank by putting up a new sign outside its building.

Seventy-two-year-old Paul, from the Isle of Wight, said his new sign - which he created himself - was in place for 16 hours before it was spotted by staff.

Speaking to this newspaper, he said: "I just hoped that as a solo piece of embarrassment might hit them over the knuckles and prompt them into behaving a bit better. The government isn’t doing anything to stop them.”

Reading Chronicle: The sign has returned to normal after Paul's prankThe sign has returned to normal after Paul's prank (Image: NQ)

“There was a huge queue of cars going in on Monday morning so someone will have clocked it wasn’t correct and pulled it down.”

Full details about Thames Water's reaction to the sign and the process of taking it down are not yet known. The company has been contacted for comment.

Readers have congratulated Paul on his efforts. One said: "Whoever did this should be awarded a medal. [They] deverve it for polluting our waterways and having such a bad track record."

While another said: "Good on the guy. Thames Water [have] been making rivers dangerous for humans and animals. And they force us to pay through the nose. The protest was done in a way that draws attention to the issue and doesn’t frustrate huge numbers of people. We need to see more of this." 

Reading Chronicle: Thames Water's £43million head office Clearwater Court in Reading Thames Water's £43million head office Clearwater Court in Reading (Image: NQ)

It is not the first time this year that Thames Water has been subjected to protest action.

British political campaign group Led By Donkeys targeted the Reading headquarters back in June, projecting images of pouring sewage on the company's plush building.

In a video that went viral on Facebook, Led By Donkeys set out its argument that "water privatisation is a con"'.

The film highlighted how 2022 saw more than 389,000 discharges of untreated sewage into UK rivers and claimed that more than seven Australian companies own 11 per cent of UK water - and America owns 17 per cent. 


The group also revealed that in the 34 years since water was sold off for privatisation in the UK, the mostly international investors who own England's 17 privatised water companies pocketed more than £57 billion in dividends.

These companies allegedly borrowed a large amount of money, meaning that the water companies debts have now risen to £60 billion since it's privatisation in 1989.

Thames Water, is the UK's largest water company. In June, its chief executive Sarah Bentley quit the business after just two years in the job.

The firm has come in for strong criticism following a series of sewage discharges and leaks. Thames Water has previously said it is trying to raise the cash it needs to improve.

Speaking previously, a spokesman for Thames Water said it keeps water regulator Ofwat informed and that it still had "strong" cash and borrowing reserves to draw on.

The water firm was in talks to secure extra funding as the government.

Thames Water sold its headquarters Clearwater Court for £43million in 2013 to Standard Life Investment Funds Limited.

It now rents out the 8,273.5 sq m of luxurious office accommodation overlooking the river as part of a 25-year lease.