Plumbing company Norman & Underwood has been ordered to pay £19,287 to settle fees and corrective software purchases after being shopped by a whistleblower for using unlicensed computer software.

The firm refused to accept liability for the infringement, despite agreeing to settle the matter with anti-piracy body the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Michala Wardell, chair of the BSA UK committee, said: "Businesses must be aware that enforcement action will be taken against any company found using unlicensed software.

"If they are caught out, settlements such as this can seriously damage a company's reputation and can be costly to businesses."

Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing at the BSA, said: "The BSA is urging companies to implement software asset management best practices and take advantage of the tools available from software vendors to ensure that their software licensing is in order."

UK firms caught using unlicensed software paid out £3.4 million in fines and other costs last year, more than double the amount for 2009.