Water customers are being told to protect their pipes and outdoor taps to prevent them from freezing amid the cold snap.

South East Water, which supplies thousands of homes in Sussex, warned that unprotected water pipes could cause extensive damage if they burst due to low temperatures.

To prevent burst pipes, industry-approved pipe lagging and outdoor tap protectors are available for free from South East Water’s website.

Steve Andrews, head of central operations for the firm, said: “By insulating water pipes and outdoor taps now, this will help prevent them from freezing and bursting.

“Locating the internal and external stop tap is another winter task so water flowing into the property can be immediately shut off if a pipe does burst.

“We are also asking people to spread this message to their family, friends and neighbours to help them avoid further misery and expense cold weather can bring.”

In the event of a water pipe emergency, people are urged to turn off the water supply, switch off the boiler and open all taps to drain the system, saving some water in a bucket for flushing toilets and hand washing.