Residents warned over charity donations

KIND-HEARTED people in Weston are being targeted by ruthless scammers, according to one resident.

KIND-HEARTED people in Weston are being targeted by ruthless scammers, according to one resident.

A road in the town has been targeted by leaflet droppers asking residents to donate handbags, perfumes and belts among other goods to third world countries.

However, John Crockford-Hawley, of Gerard Road, says the plea is a scam.

He said: "The style of presentation gives an impression that it is for charitable purposes, though it doesn't actually use the word 'charity'.

"It seems to me this business preys upon concern for Third World issues by encouraging the donation of goods, which are then sold on at profit to other parties."

Helpmates, a UK-registered company which produced the leaflet, has not filed any accounts since it began trading in 2006.

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There has been no response from a contact telephone number printed on the leaflet at the time of going to press, despite repeated attempts by the Weston & Somerset Mercury.

'God will reward for your good hearts' is printed at the bottom of the leaflet.

Mr Crockford-Hawley added: "Trading standards is aware of and unhappy with this type of collection, but so long as the collectors do not actually refer to themselves as charities they are not breaking the law.

"The reference to the Almighty praising donors is a cynical way of encouraging people to believe they are doing good.

"If this is truly for Third World people I'm not convinced that handbags and cosmetics are much sought after by those unfortunate people who are starving.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "Concern is growing that carefully worded leaflets currently being pushed through letter boxes alongside collection bags asking for donations, may be from commercial businesses rather than charities.

"At the present time there is no evidence of any irregularities with this particular company however similar companies using this same method of collection have been found to be less than charitable in their efforts.

"People should be aware that donated items may never actually reach the third world and could be distributed within the UK for profit.

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