A warning has been issued to businesses over a scam involving fake council officers.

Businesses in the Braintree district are being alerted to a new licensing fee scam which has been attempted in the area.

It involves fraudsters posing as licensing officers and asking a businesses, for instance an off-licence, for its annual fee to be paid in cash or over the phone.

The bogus callers have correct details such as the exact amount of the fee and the names of council officials, however Braintree Council is reminding companies officers will always carry official identification.

Official licensing officers will never ask for instant payment by cash or even card, requests will be made in writing and payment will be made at a council office or online.

Wendy Schmitt, councillor responsible for licensing, said: "Businesses are reminded that true council officers will never ask for instant payment when visiting premises and will always show their identification.

"If in doubt then please call our team on 01376 557823 to verify the identity of the person in front of you. If they are genuine they will be happy to wait while you do so.”

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this type of fraud, is asked to save any CCTV they may have of the incident and inform Essex Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.