DORSET residents who were affected by flooding are being warned to make sure that they employ reputable traders for repair work.

During the winter storms 368 properties were flooded across the county.

Money is available through a number of government flood support schemes and choosing a trustworthy company will make sure that the work is done to a good standard, says Dorset County Council’s Trading Standards team.

The team checks and approves businesses through the Buy with Confidence scheme.

The Citizens Advice consumer helpline can give householders the details of approved traders in the area.

Peter Finney, the county council's cabinet member for community services, said: “We hope that most tradesmen will be honest and not exploit the situation but there is always a risk that some might see this as an opportunity.”