Sgt Chris Walsh with Angel Bid’s Christine Lovett
Published: 3 August, 2012
by PETER GRUNER
POLICE at the Angel have launched a major crackdown on illegal charity collectors who shake tins or buckets at shoppers outside stores and supermarkets.
Although many collectors are genuine, an increasing number do not have police permits to collect cash in the street and will often put donations into their own pockets.
An additional problem, according to police, is that many illegal collectors will use logos similar to those of well-known charities.
Police and officials from Angel AIM Business Improvement District (Bid) became concerned after complaints from the public about the number of collectors with buckets or tins touting for cash outside supermarkets.
Several arrests have been made when permits were not produced and when letters of authority and identities proved fictitious.
Sergeant Chris Walsh said that anyone collecting cash for charity should have a proper permit from police and correct identification.
He added: “A lot of well-known charities have permission to ask for donations in the street outside stores but quite a few do not have permits. Their identification and written authority is deliberately vague to mislead the public. If you have any doubts don’t give them your money.”
Angel Bid director Christine Lovett said residents were very generous. “But you need to know who you are giving your money to,” she added. “I’ve seen collectors with logos, which look very similar to those used by mainstream charities, who stand to lose out. It’s very easy to be taken in by a popular logo.”
At the same time, police have launched a campaign against thefts of bags and phones from pubs and cafés in Camden Passage and nearby.
“We’ve had plain-clothes officers in venues popular with thieves to see if we can catch them in the act,” Sgt Walsh said. “Officers have even left decoy iPhones on tables because they are regularly being stolen.
“We hope we have reduced the problem but the public when they are relaxing with a drink should always keep an eye on their belongings.”
• Angel Bid’s campaign against charity fundraisers who approach people in high streets has been mentioned by Lord Hodgson in a report to the government on the problem nationwide.
Ms Lovett has called for “chuggers” (charity muggers) to be licensed by the council, which could then control the problem.