|Old clothes spark scam on your doorstep|
Vigilance needed over donated clothes collections
After a flurry of activity on the Actonw3.com Forum, further investigation has uncovered a worrying turn of events. The leaflets from Pajury's and other companies which you may have found on your doormat are deliberately misleading (see box on right). They appear to be collecting for charity and often time collections to coincide with genuine pick-ups by Great Ormond Street Hospital, Help the Aged and other charities.
This coincidence seems to be planned, as bags which residents have filled with donations for Great Ormond Street or other charities are taken at the same time. It is not unusual for a whole day's collection to disappear in one area.
We spoke to Michael Lomotey of Clothes Aid who co-ordinate house to house collections of unwanted clothing on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity. Doorstep collections of old clothes are a valuable part of the money raised every year for Great Ormond Street. He told us, "a conservative estimate of the money lost in the first half of this year for GOSHCC alone is £200,000. If the thefts continue, donations with a street value of as much as £7 million could be lost in revenue to all the charities who organise clothes collections."
He said the theft of these bags of clothes is tantamount to "stealing from sick and ill children" as the revenue raised goes directly towards treatment and care. There is much speculation as to what activities are funded by the money raised by selling clothes hi-jacked in this way.
Michael's advice to residents who are contemplating donating bags of old clothes is as follows:
- Be vigilant and call the police immediately if a bag is picked up by any suspicious vehicle. If possible, make a note of the numberplate. All Great Ormond Street and other legitimate charity collectors will be carrying official ID cards and usually use vans marked with their charity logo
- Please do not allow this to stop you from making doorstep donations of clothes. The revenue is important for many charities.
One Forum contributor has come across leaflets distributed in Wales (see above right) by the Police and the local council to warn residents of these bogus collections.
September 8, 2006