FAKE tree surgeons are reportedly scamming residents in Wiltshire.

People are being told to be on their guard after there have been reports of rogue traders calling on householders, saying they have diseased trees on their property which need felling.

Wiltshire Council’s trading standards team was alerted to the problem after several residents reportedly received cold calls offering to cut down diseased trees. There was no evidence that any of the trees were diseased.

Even if trees were diseased however, the council have said that felling by an unqualified person would not be recommended.

In many cases trees which are infected with disease are treated in other ways and only a qualified tree surgeon would be capable of giving the right advice.

Yvonne Bennett, Wiltshire Council consumer protection manager, said: “Employing people who cold call to work on trees can result in damage to both the home and the environment, and if they are not qualified or insured can be very dangerous.

“We advise people to ensure they find a fully qualified person to carry out this type of very specialist work and don’t fall victim to a rogue trader.”

Anyone approached at their home by callers offering to cut down trees should refuse to engage with the callers and report the incident immediately to Wiltshire Council on 03454 040506.

Both DEFRA and The Forestry Commission have information on their websites relating to trees and disease. To find out more visit forestry.gov.uk/treediseases

The Arboriculture Association also offer residents help in finding a qualified person to advise on tree care.

More information can be found at trees.org.uk/find-a-professional