Dawn Foods has been fined £23,500 and ordered to pay £7,950 costs after admitting two charges that resulted in the pollution of the River Avon.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that Environment Agency officers found large pools of oil on the river near to Sankey Marina, Evesham, last June. Investigations confirmed that Dawn Foods was the source of rapeseed oil entering the watercourse.

The company reported a spill of about 5,000 litres of rapeseed oil at its premises at Worcester Road and said a bund around the oil tank had not contained the leak. As a result, about 800 litres entered the River Avon.

Environment Agency officers noted that the oil had escaped from a storage tank via a flexible pipe, fixed in place with a jubilee clip, which had become detached. The oil had leaked into the company’s surface water drains and discharged into the surface sewer and ultimately into the River Avon.

The court noted that the company had no previous convictions, had co-operated fully with the Environment Agency, borne the clean-up costs and pleaded guilty at an early opportunity.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Dawn Foods Limited had poor knowledge of their own site drainage. They did not have a plan of what to do in the event of a spillage at the site and, unfortunately, this resulted in the pollution incident.”