The News of the World today features an investigation into “rat-bag collecting firms [that] are lining their own pockets at the expense of big-name charities, the vulnerable – and caring families who donate their old gear”.
In You rat bags reporters Daniel Jones and Lee Sorrell say that they filmed collectors licensed to collect by some charities taking clothes left for completely different charities. These were then taken, they say, to the licensed company, that is sub-contracted to collect clothes for RNLI and Kidney Research UK, for transfer out of the charity bags into plain black bin bags for sale by the company for its own profit.
The newspaper said that “charities hit by the scam include Help the Aged, the NSPCC and the British Heart Foundation”. It named two Lithuanian men it had spoken to as involved in the operation.
Both Kidney Research UK and the RNLI said that they would investigate the allegations and co-operate in any police investigation.
The Institute of Fundraising said that it was important to expose and eliminate bad practice. However, it wished to stress that “such cases are the exception rather than the rule and that the majority of charity clothing collections are legitimate and adhere to best practice”.
Louise Richards, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising, said: “The Institute is constantly working to raise the standard of best practice in the charity sector. A revised version of the House-to-House Collections Code of Practice is about to go out to public consultation. The Code contains a new section on goods collections and is intended to highlight best practice standards for the charity sector in this area.”
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