Residents are being warned to be on their guard after reports of rogue traders calling on householders stating they have diseased trees on their property which need felling.
Wiltshire Council’s trading standards team was alerted to the problem after several householders in the south of the county reported receiving cold calls offering to cut down diseased trees. In one case the householder was also told that the tree had damaged a wall which must be removed and rebuilt. There is no evidence that any of the trees were diseased, but even if they were, 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.
Often diseased trees only need felling if they are a danger or the disease will spread. A qualified tree surgeon can quickly advise on action to be taken in the event a tree is suffering from disease. The Arboriculture Association can help any householder to find a qualified person to advise on tree care. More information can be found at www.trees.org.uk/Find-a-professional
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. People should visit www.forestry.gov.uk/treediseases