MP for Chatham and Aylesford Tracey Crouch is today (13 October) leading a debate in Westminster calling for stricter enforcement on ‘bogus’ charity door to door textile collectors.
Following her motion earlier this month, Crouch hopes to raise awareness of the criminal gangs which pretend to collect clothing on behalf of charity. It is estimated charities lose up to £12m each year through the theft of doorstep donations left for collectors of genuine charities.
It is also damaging the public’s perception of clothing collections, undermining their trust and support for door to door charity collections.
Crouch said: “I hope that by holding this debate we will see greater scrutiny of current and proposed legislation while raising the awareness that bogus charity collections are not isolated crimes of the opportunist thief, but part of serious organised criminal networks operating throughout the country.
“There needs to be a far greater degree of co-operation between police authorities and regulatory bodies across the country, a tightening of legislation and harsher penalties for those found guilty of bogus charity collections.”
Charity clothing collector Clothes Aid spokesman Michael Lomotey agreed that stronger preventative measures must be put in force. “Clothes Aid believes now is the time for action and is calling upon the police, other charities and legitimate collectors to help us get rid of the people who give this method of fundraising a bad name,” he said.
Charity Make-A-Wish director of fundraising Karen England added: “Clothing collections provide a vital income for Make-A-Wish, raising over £270,000 for us last year and funding 67 of our wishes. At a time when charities face enormous financial pressures, this is an extremely cost-effective and popular fundraising activity.”