Scottish Water has been urging residents to ensure that their homes and businesses are geared up to withstand the winter months.

Taking the necessary steps to safeguard properties is essential, in order to prevent flooding damage or frozen or burst pipes, the water board said.

Amongst other advice, Scottish Water has told customers that they must be aware of how to locate their stop valve so that they can turn off the water supply in an emergency.

Scottish Water’s regional community manager, Steve Scott, told the Brechin Advertiser: “Our winter campaign aims to inform our customers, homeowners and businesses about the importance of acting now to protect their pipes to avoid the hardships that so many experienced in recent winters.

“Unfortunately, many customers found out that the real problems start when temperatures begin to rise again after such a cold snap. This can lead to pipes expanding and bursting”, he added.

Customers are being advised to follow the water board's winter code which includes heating insulating and protect pipes by leaving the heating on a low setting when away on holiday. Turning off a water supply and draining the system is also advised if a property is going to be empty over the winter months.

Scottish Water also advised keeping insurance documents somewhere secure and water-tight, keeping the contact details of a licensed plumber close to hand and keeping an eye out for your neighbours and their properties.

STV weather forecaster, Sean Batty, who is supporting the winter campaign, said: “We need to be prepared for anything by ensuring that we heat, insulate and protect our homes and businesses against the elements”.