A scam by charity collectors to steal bagged clothing donations meant for other charity shops has been revealed by a national newspaper.
The News of the World has identified what it describes as a “multi-million-pound charity racket” in which collectors for Kidney Research UK and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) were recorded stealing collections meant for other charities.
According to the article: “Most of the charity bags are collected by law-abiding commercial organisations who pay a fixed fee to charities then sell the clothes for profit in Eastern Europe.
“A booming market in second-hand clothing there has driven prices up to as much as £1,500 a tonne - and aroused the interest of crooks.”
“Many of the thieves have no charity links. But increasingly gangs are getting licences from one charity and using that as cover to grab other bags.”
With the transposition of the revised waste framework directive into UK law in December, reuse and waste prevention will become formal requirements (as part of the re-use pyramid) – meaning that charity shops will have a growing role in preventing waste arisings through the provision of a secondary market for unwanted clothing.
Association of Charity Shops head of policy and public affairs David Moir explained: “Thefts and bogus collections are a real problem for charities with shops. The people doing this are despicable. They divert stock from good causes and undermine the public’s confidence in donating.”
“Most charities collecting stock for their shops do not use commercial partners. Any stock collected by charity shops is sold for reuse in the UK wherever possible, and not automatically shipped abroad.”