Scottish Water has issued a warning after a Neilston firm was fined for depositing dangerous chemicals into the public sewerage system.

Clyde Leather Co was ordered to pay £10,000 for discharging illegal levels of chromium.

The company is Scotland’s only manufacturer of suede and supplies upmarket designers such as Charlotte Elizabeth, whose clients include Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

At Paisley Sheriff Court, the firm admitted contravening the Sewerage Scotland Act, following a probe by Scottish Water.

Now other companies are being warned to be careful about how they dispose of their waste – or they could also face prosecution.

A Scottish Water spokesperson told the Barrhead News: “We monitor discharges of trade effluent into the public sewer and work with the business community to remediate problems with their trade effluent wherever possible.

“However, where a breach of consent results in significant damage or harm or poses an increased risk of this happening, we will take enforcement action and report matters to the Procurator Fiscal.

“We take environmental issues extremely seriously and it is vital that businesses operate in a responsible manner.

“We urge them to be vigilant about how and what they discharge into their drains.

“Illegal discharges can have a harmful effect on sewage infrastructure and the environment.”

Clyde Leather was charged with committing pollution offences between March 4 and November 25 last year.

The firm, which has been based in Neilston since 1963, uses chromium in the manufacture of leather products.

The waste water is then drained off into the sewer system, which is supposed to comply with safe environmental standards.

However, a tannery worker responsible for monitoring the discharges of effluent had been furloughed during the Covid pandemic and his job was taken on by a company director.

Scottish Water then visited the plant to carry out inspections and discovered the pollution law breaches.

Inspectors found that bosses had been dumping excessive levels of the toxic metal residue into the public sewerage.

A total of 46 samples were taken and only 11 were within the permitted limits.

Sheriff Tom McCartney said the fine would have been £15,000 if it hadn’t been for the company’s admission of guilt.