SOUTHERN Water is urging people to run their taps if they have not been used for a while.

The company has directed this message mostly at businesses, offices and workshops that have been closed for weeks during lockdown.

Taps should be kept on until the water runs clear and feels cold.

Head of water quality and compliance at Southern Water, Guy Franklin, said: "We continue to live in unprecedented times and as key workers we've been working hard to keep water and wastewater services flowing over the last few months.

"Now lockdown restrictions are easing, and communities start to return to a form of normality, we ask our customers and businesses to be mindful when using any water appliances.

"We thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continued are essential works during the lockdown."

More advice can be found on Water UK's website.

Mr Franklin continued: "We remind customers to ensure that if any plumbers are required, that they are approved under the WaterSafe scheme.

"The numbers of sewer blockages during the lockdown also increased amid panic-buying for toiletries in March, however we face a new challenge as our customers and businesses return to a new normal.

"Before and during lockdown, we've led the way in helping our customers and businesses fully grasp the dangers of flushing kitchen roll, wet wipes and other inappropriate items down their loos that are meant for the bin.

"But as nearly 30,000 business across our region start to open their doors again, it's crucial our simple steps on preventing blockages are followed."