A PROBE has been launched after bogus leaflets claiming to offer cut-rate fees for pensioners were posted around Basildon.

Essex Trading Standards have confirmed it is investigating the leaflets, which offer a range of services including thinning, pruning and tree felling.

The “company” also lists its address as that of a supported housing block for people with learning difficulties.

Trading Standards have confirmed the leaflets are the latest in a long line of incidents where bogus tree surgeons have distributed leaflets to try and scam people.

The leaflet was intercepted by a 64-year-old woman from Basildon, who claims her 90-year-old mother nearly contacted them.

She said: “These are unscrupulous people who prey on the elderly and vulnerable and frequently do very little or nothing then demand huge sums in payment.

“I only just managed to stop my 90-year-old mother from calling them to cut back a neighbour’s tree that is hanging over her garden.

“These people need to be exposed, they are just preying on the elderly, the fact that they’re offering discounts to OAPs makes it significant.

“As many people as possible need to be made aware of it.”

Essex Trading Standards stated bogus traders will often use leaflets with fake or incomplete address details, which can result in very poor workmanship, overcharging and links to distraction burglaries.

A spokesman said: “Essex Trading Standards were made aware on Tuesday of this flyer following a report from a concerned Basildon resident which was reported through the Citizens Advice Service.

“Whilst there are several similarly named businesses operating in this sector, this is the first notification/complaint received about this business and we are currently looking into this.

“This is a sector that we have real concerns about, and we frequently receive complaints concerning targeting of elderly and vulnerable people. carrying out unnecessary work, overcharging and escalation of pricing and an inability to contact or verify address details.

“Tree surgeons operating without licences or qualifications are putting you in danger.

"Do your research first and do not deal with traders who cold call.”