WATER bosses are urging East Lancashire businesses to avoid the misery of mopping up a wet and washed-out new year.

Every year many small businesses shut up shop as festive temperatures plunge, only to find themselves returning to work to face a flood of water, rather than a flood of customers.

Water company United Utilities said the vast majority of problems were due to customers’ own internal pipework.

They want business owners to reduce the risk by insulating pipes, and leaving the heating on a low setting.

Other tips are to find and label your stop tap, get your pipes lagged, and have a plan in case the worst happens, including the number of a good plumber.