NEW Forest residents are being advised to be wary of rogue traders posing as tree surgeons.
The warning has been issued by the Safer New Forest Partnership in the wake of the outbreak of ash dieback disease (Chalara fraxinea).
Doorstep callers claiming to be tree surgeons have been operating in the district offering to fell householders’ trees immediately for cash.
If you think you have spotted the ash dieback disease, you should first refer to the Forestry Commission’s website, which has information on how to spot the disease, its symptoms and details on how to report it.
A Forestry Commission spokesman said: “The Forestry Commission is keen to highlight that we are not requiring infected mature ash trees to be cut down immediately, because they take a long time to die of the disease, are valuable to wildlife in the meantime, and they can help us to spot Chalara-resistant strains of ash trees whose seed might form the foundation of future generations of ash trees in the British landscape.
“Of course we would advise removal or pruning of a diseased tree which is becoming unsafe. No Chalara has yet been confirmed in the New Forest.”
Residents should always ask for ID from anyone who knocks on their door. ID can be verified by calling Hampshire County Council’s trading standards quick response team on 01962 833666.
If uncertain, residents should not let anyone inside their home and if they are persistent or won’t leave when asked, residents are advised to call the police on 999.