Homeowners across the north are being warned about “free” energy schemes after more than two dozen homes were apparently hit by scams.
Householders have been warned to be cautious when agreeing to “free” insulation services, after it has emerged that Police and Trading Standard officers at Highland Council are investigating incidents in the Western Isles and Skye.
In all the cases, work has been started on the homes – but has not been finished, leaving many homes with open internal brickwork.
One homeowner, who did not want to be named but lives in Skye, said: “As the work was free, we were delighted to take up the offer. So we decanted all our belongs out the rooms and we moved into the lower part of the house for the work to be done, we were told this would take about a fortnight.
“But here we are months later – the work has been started but it has not been completed and it is an absolute mess.”
A homeowner in Stornoway added: “It is a disgrace, we are all in limbo, and no one is able to do anything about it – or to put it right.
“We’ve been told that contractors get paid for the work to be started – and then receive a final payment when the work is complete.
“Well the work has certainly been started – but we don’t know if and when he might be coming back.”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “We can confirm that Trading Standards are at this time investigating a number of complaints relating to the home insulation market. The investigations are ongoing and involve numerous companies.
“If any member of the public is approached on their doorstep by a trader offering to install home energy products we would urge them to check the facts before agreeing to anything.
“If you are approached by an installer who claims to be working with the council, please confirm the validity of their offering by contacting Home Energy Scotland.
“The council scheme operators adopt the no cold calling policy and initial communication will be by letter not a knock on the door.”
A police spokesman added: “Police Scotland can confirm that inquiries are ongoing in conjunction with partner agencies.”