AN URGENT warning has been issued after a suspicious leaflet was posted across south Essex promising discounted tree services.

Essex Trading Standards shared the warning on their social media channels after concerns were raised about the leaflet for “Essex Tree Workers”.

The flyer, which has been distributed in the Wickford, Benfleet and Thundersley areas, promises a 15 per cent discount if the company is booked within 24 hours of receiving the leaflet.

A spokesman for the trading standards team said: “The address details are a generic block of flats. Not having a legitimate contact address is in breach of current legislation. We’d always ask residents to use caution when engaging a tradesperson.

"Please only go on recommendation from family and friends or consider using the Buy With Confidence Trading Standards Approved scheme.”

The leaflet claims the company is based at Chestnut House, a generic block of flats in Hillwood Grove, Wickford.

The website address also comes up as invalid.

One Rayleigh man claims his grandad was forced to pay £600 in cash before he was driven in his own car to the bank where he was told to withdraw a further £1,500 more, but was stopped when bank staff intervened.

The spokesman for Trading Standards added: “We are proactively looking to warn residents as part of the team’s wider operations about the dangers of leaflets through the door which offer Tree and Garden Services

“We have noticed a surge of leaflets with incomplete or fictitious addresses. The leaflets are delivered in an area and the traders concentrate there for a short time then move on quickly with the intention that they cannot be traced or accountable for their work or their pricing. Before any leaflets are posted on our channels robust checks are carried out and an opportunity is provided to the businesses to engage with us.

“Because this activity is quite fast-paced, our aim is to use our social media as an early warning system to let our residents know about leaflets of this type in their area so they can share and discuss with friends, neighbours and relatives that don’t have access to social media.”

The company did not respond to the Echo’s requests for comment.