Residents are being warned not to fall foul of rogue traders as they count the cost of damage caused by severe storms.
Fraudsters have already been reportedly posing as East Sussex Highways staff across the county, offering to carry out repairs and remove fallen trees for cash following Storm Ciara.
With Storm Dennis having caused further widespread wind and flood damage at the weekend, East Sussex Trading Standards is teaming up with East Sussex Highways to warn residents to be on their guard.
Richard Strawson, East Sussex Trading Standards team manager, said: “Many residents will be surveying storm damage on their home and will be needing traders to help remove fallen trees, repair fencing or undertake roof repairs.
“Experience has shown that rogue traders will often visit areas hit by storms and go door to door offering to undertake such work. Prices can start cheap but soon escalate with work being done of poor quality or unnecessarily – with residents then unable to contact the trader when things go wrong.”
Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis caused disruption across East Sussex with the county council’s highways team dealing with more than 130 trees which fell on roads and pavements and several flooded roads.
Karl Taylor, assistant director of operations at East Sussex County Council, said: “Teams have been working tirelessly across the county since Storm Ciara hit to make sure our roads were kept open and motorists kept as safe as possible from the effects of the wind and rain. While the worst of storms have passed, flood warnings are still in place and we continue to monitor the situation and will take action where needed.
“I would like to assure the public that we would never approach residents and offer to carry out work for payment. If anyone is approached by someone claiming to represent East Sussex Highways in this way, please report it directly to the police or to Trading Standards via the consumer helpline.”
Residents are being encouraged to get at least three quotes from legitimate businesses before making a decision on what trader to use for repairs to their property.
East Sussex Trading Standards supports a partnership with both Checkatrade and Buy With Confidence where businesses are checked and approved. More details are available at www.checkatrade.com or www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
Anyone who believes rogue traders are operating in their area, or who needs further advice, should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.