BOGUS tree cutters are targeting residents demanding cash and claiming Basildon Council agreed for the works to be done.

The council has made an urgent announcement about the ongoing scam on its Facebook page.

Residents are being reminded by the council not to get involved.

A council spokesman said on Facebook: “We have been made aware of an incident in the Wickford area where a group of people have cut council owned trees abutting onto private property and then asked the resident for payment.

“The workers claimed the council had authorised the works and the resident at the property was responsible for payment.

“Because the work had already been carried out, part of the scam was to make the resident feel obliged to pay and offered an early payment discount.

“The council and authorised contractors will never ask for payment for work to its own trees and will always carry identification and proof of insurance when carrying out works.”

Jamie Hilton, 27, a reputable tree surgeon who owns tree surgeon and garden maintenance firm, JH Services, in Billericay, hit the headlines in the summer after offering his services for free to a pensioner who had fallen victim to a similar scam and was conned out of thousands.


Reputable - Jamie Hilton

He said: “It’s so hard because they just force themselves onto the weak. The only advice I would give is to always ask for liability insurances or chainsaw tickets. But the main thing to go by when choosing a tree surgeon or any other workman is to just go by word-of-mouth. Never open your door to or accept work from strangers.”

A probe was also launched earlier this year after leaflets were posted around Basildon claiming to offer cut-rate fees for pensioners.

Essex Trading Standards investigated the leaflets, which claimed to offer a range of services including thinning, pruning and tree felling.

Trading Standards confirmed the leaflets from 1st Call Tree Management were the latest in a long line of incidents where disingenuous tree surgeons had distributed leaflets in a bid to try and scam people.

Basildon Council, added: “Contact Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444 or report it to the police. You can also contact our grounds maintenance team at”