Two men in their early 30s wearing hoodies and white t-shirts were touting for trade with red collection buckets at the front of Primark in Walsall town centre and gave the impression from the logos on their clothes that they were collecting for a children’s cancer charity.
Working on information supplied to them by West Midlands Police, fast-acting Trading Standards were quickly at the scene to challenge the fraudsters. When questioned by council officers as to whether their organisation was registered, the men said that they worked for a commercial company that supported children with cancer and is based in Bristol. During the questioning, a member of the public tried to put money in a branded bucket they were holding. When asked why they said ‘because it’s for charity’, so it was clear to the officers that it was a convincing con. Walsall Trading Standards then warned the men that they were misleading people by acting as if they were collecting for charity which is an offence under consumer protection law. Officers obtained their details before the men packed up and left and are hopeful of pursuing the matter further.
Cllr Garry Perry said: “Quick work Trading Standards! How low can people go? Stealing money that’s allegedly supporting sick children. Let’s get them in court where they belong – so other fraudsters can see that we will not let the people of Walsall have their generosity abused in this way. You can help us by staying alert and recognising the signs. Our Trading Standards advice is to be wary of anyone collecting money for charity, on the street, in the pub or be it elsewhere. Don’t let them get away with it – official collectors will always have a badge with the registered charity number on it, which will be authorised by Walsall Council to collect.”
Investigations by Trading Standards will be ongoing. However early indications suggest there is no evidence that the company provides any support to children.
Details of authorised charities can be checked on the Charity Commission website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission