Warning over doorstep charity collections

East Anglian charities are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds every year to unscrupulous doorstep collectors.

East Anglian charities are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds every year to unscrupulous doorstep collectors.

Trading standards bosses today warned that the region's householders were being targeted by a growing number of collection businesses which pass on only a fraction of their takings to charity.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) estimates that the practice, combined with other unethical behaviour by businesses, costs the charity up to £100,000 each year.

Bronwen Fox, acting team manager for Norfolk trading standards, said that it was difficult to prosecute companies under the trade descriptions act as it was almost impossible to verify whether or not they were honouring their claims to support charities.

She said: “These companies often make claims about helping the third world or providing employment in eastern Europe but it is highly likely this never happens.”

Simon Gray, director of EAAA, said that its fundraising is being hit by companies either using the air ambulance name to increase personal gain or collecting at the same time as its official collector World UK Trading Ltd.

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He said: “There are a number of unscrupulous individuals out there who unfortunately are willing to prey on people's generosity.”

ADVICE

t Check whether the company provides a registered charity number on its leaflet and verify the number with the Charity Commission at www.charitycommission.gov.uk;

t If it is a limited company check its listing with Companies House at www.companieshouse.gov.uk;

t Contact the charity the company claims to be collecting for;

t Take the items directly to your nearest charity shop.