Local and national charities are being cheated out of income by ambitious criminal who have started leaving fake clothes banks in towns and cities, a waste firm claims.
According to BusinessWaste.co.uk, it’s got to the point where local authorities are impounding dishonestly-placed “charity” bins.
“The people are a blight on decent society,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall. “They prey on people’s charitable instincts just for personal profit.”
BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme highlighted the difficulty that local charities face against dishonest traders who steal donations of clothing from literally under their noses – with Manchester City Council telling the BBC that they had identified at least two recycling bins in the city with no markings.
“They’ve got no social conscience, and they don’t care that the likes of you and I have to pay for the clean-up out of our Council Tax,”
“It’s certainly enterprising, but the bottom line is that they are taking money away from the needy,” says Hall. “And apart from trying to catch the crooks in the act of picking up their bin, there’s very little the authorities can do to apprehend them.”
Residents have in the past been warned of fake charity bag collections, as well as stealing legitimate charity bags left on doorsteps.
“People are bombarded with charity bags, and it’s sometime difficult to tell which are real and which are fake,” says Hall. “Legitimate charities are finding their names on fake clothes bags when they’re not even collecting in the area.”
Hall says the gangs will sort through “donations” and sell the best on the internet, while other items are driven to Eastern Europe, where there is a boom in British-style clothing to be fed in local stores. He says none of the profits are returned to UK charities.
The items that won’t sell will flytipped, Hall says.
“They’ve got no social conscience, and they don’t care that the likes of you and I have to pay for the clean-up out of our Council Tax,” Hall says.
BusinessWaste.co.uk suggests people use the bags posted through residents’ doors then take their donation directly to a charity shop because the clothes, textiles and shoes that don’t sell are collected and taken away for genuine recycling.
Hall advises people to keep an eye open for fake collectors and to report them to local trading standards.
“That way, we can get these criminals off the streets, and restore trust in a system that they’re trying to con.”