Protesters have unveiled a plaque outside the headquarters of a water company to demand they "stop the sewage" after a string of pollution incidents.

Extinction Rebellion activists stood outside the Southern Water headquarters in Yeoman Road, Worthing this morning to tell the water company they must "stop polluting our seas."

Around 15 demonstrators stood outside Southern House to say "enough is enough".

The Argus: They held signs outside Southern Water's officesThey held signs outside Southern Water's offices (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

The regulatory body of the water sector in England and Wales, Ofwat, released its Water Company Performance Report in December last year.

The assessment ranked Southern Water as the worst performing water company nationally, after it recorded 93.63 pollution incidents per 10,000km of sewer, compared with the 23.74 commitment that was made - placing it at the highest number of pollution incidents nationally.

The Argus: They also read speeches at the demonstrationThey also read speeches at the demonstration (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

A spokeswoman for the Worthing Climate Action Network said: "We’ve watched in horror as our rivers and seas have become open sewers.

"Southern Water should clean up their act."

At the demonstration, a blue plaque was revealed, which read: "The UK Government voted to block a law that could have stopped Southern Water dumping raw sewage at 80 beaches last year."

Pictures posted online show the campaign group delivering their message to representatives from Southern Water.

In August 2022, Southern Water was condemned after a “shocking” video showed raw sewage being pumped into the sea.

The video, filmed by Martyn Craddock near Splash Point in Seaford, was described as a “new low” by Councillor Matthew Bird, cabinet member for sustainability at Lewes District Council.

Town clerk for Seaford Adam Chugg said he was “stunned and saddened” to see the footage of the sewage discharge just yards from busy beaches.

Southern Water was fined a record-breaking £90m by the Environment Agency in 2021, after it was found to have dumped sewage illegally on thousands of occasions over a five-year period between 2010 and 2015.

The Argus: A painting by 5-year-old ChesterA painting by 5-year-old Chester (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

The activists at the protest wished to shine a light on these failings, by holding up banners and placards outside the headquarters.

Among those was a painting, depicting a coastal scene with poo floating in and around the sea. It was said to have been drawn by Chester, aged 5.

Another sign read: "Love swimming, hate pollution."

Councillor Vicki Wells, a cabinet minister for environment at Worthing Borough Council, said:

"Worthing Borough Council is doing everything possible to ensure we protect our coastal and inland waters.

"This includes improved monitoring of water quality by increasing bathing designations from one to three, increased local testing for ammonia at outfalls, ensuring Southern Water work to locate and remediate the sources of bacterial pollution as a
matter of urgency.

"We have joined a collective of 40 Local Authorities across the South East to create a collective voice and demand improvements across the board to end the appalling and negligent releases of sewage.”

A spokesman for Southern Water said: "We are aware of this demonstration, and understand the concerns of those involved.  

“At Southern Water, we play our part in improving the standard of bathing waters, through major investments in treatment works along our 700 miles of coast – and we are working hard to extend our efforts and partnerships with other agencies to make an even bigger positive impact.

"This includes an industry-leading approach to reducing the use of storm overflows when increased surface and groundwater enter our sewers."