Possession ownership company Recipero carried out its own undercover investigation, sending out handsets registered as stolen to four big UK recyclers via recycling schemes advocated in major retail outlets.
It said that within a short period of time donations had been made to nominated charities and some phones resold to consumers in the UK or abroad meaning that charities were unwittingly receiving money from the sale of stolen goods. And major high street stores were leaving their corporate social responsibility credentials open to question.
Recycling has become a very big and profitable business with companies re-selling second-hand handsets to UK and overseas consumers. However, they are failing to check the crime or blocked status of the phones they are handling and putting their own, as well as their retail and charity partners reputations at risk, said Recipero managing director Adrian Portlock.
Mobile phone recycling has grown in popularity with many handsets donated to recyclers under the premise that donations are made to charities.
Recipero said it had been in touch with the Charity Commission, asking it to ensure its members were aware of such issues and phone recyclers carried out the appropriate checks.