A family run business has warned its customers and local residents to be aware of scammers posing as the company.

Tree surgeons Oakwood Tree Services, based in Westhoughton, were notified that leaflets were being handed out in the area with the business' name, despite having no connection.

Judith Barnett runs the company along with her husband Shaun and their son Adam. They started it 10 years ago.

She fears that scammers using the Oakwood Tree Services name will not only tarnish their reputation, but will put vulnerable people at risk of losing money.

Mrs Barnett said: "A couple of days ago our neighbour rang me as she was concerned that a group of men were knocking on doors and handing out leaflets using our name.

"My neighbour told me about an elderly gentleman who was offered services by these men. Once they started the job they increased the price again and again, forcing him to pay the money.

"That was what really struck me, it is not the way we work. We would never do the job and then ask for more money.

"They are taking advantage of vulnerable people. A reputable business would never go knocking on doors, we would certainly never increase the price once the work has started.

"It's not right that people are being intimated and it's not fair to think these people are getting away with it.

"It's incredibly frustrating for us; we have built up our business over a number of years and we have expanded across Bolton and Horwich.

"We have a very good reputation and it's taken us years to build that up."

The Barnetts have shared information on social media, but Judith worries that elderly customers will fall for the scams. She advises customers to get in touch with them directly.

She said: "Normally people ring us who want to use our services, or contact us on Facebook; we have no need to knock on doors.

"If people are going door to door and offer to do a job there and then, chances are they're not who they say they are.

"We urge people to contact us directly and ignore any leaflets they see with our name."

Scams have been on the rise since lockdown began.

Research conducted by Citizens Advice revealed that 36% of adults have been confronted with a scam and visits to the scam advice section of their website have increased by 19% during lockdown.

People are urged to be vigilant and to also look out for their vulnerable friends and neighbours to ensure they are not exploited.