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Charitable house-to-house collections :
List of prosecutions

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Introduction

This is an evolving page.  There may be a few errors.  If you notice any, please contact us.

The List - can  you  help?:  As far as we know, this is the only list of prosecutions of house-to-house collectors which has been published.
Please contact us if you come across any more prosecutions - so they can be added to the list (to help everyone).  Also, we'd welcome more information on the prosecutions already listed.

Some councils now have a policy of refusing licences if the collector has been prosecuted.

See also these related pages :

1. List of prosecutions of collectors

Leaflet from E&C Export Ltd - purporting to be on behalf of Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF)
Above: A leaflet from E&C Export Ltd
- purporting to be on behalf of
Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF)
Company prosecuted 21 May 2009
Hover your mouse over the image to ENLARGE it

Notes :        

List (a) Summary (table)

Firefox browser - icon

Note:  If you want to filter or sort the table below, you can do this easily with the Firefox browser, using TableTools2 (a free, downloadable add-on utility).  For more on this, see the help section immediately above the table on our "A-Z List of collectors" page.

Key to abbreviations
* An asterisk by a collector or charity, indicates it no longer exists
(eg a dissolved company)
AA Air ambulance
LD Regulator: Licensing department (local councils)
TSD Regulator: Trading standards department (local councils)
OFT Regulator: Office of Fair Trading (a central government agency)
CPS Crown Prosecution Service (central government; they assist the police)
1939 Act Law: House to House Collections Act 1939 (=district council licensing)
CMARs Law: Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations (eg 1988) (=OFT)
CPRs Law: Consumer Protection Regulations 2008 (=trading standards)
Fraud Act Law: Fraud Act 2006 (=police or trading standards)
XX The entry is provisional/incomplete (see 'Law' column)

 

Date Collector Charity Prosecutor Dept Law
2 Aug 2001 Third World Recycling (2 local individuals) Third world South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) LD 1939 Act
11 Jun 2004 Nicholas Rees (an individual), Kosta Ltd * (fake) H.K.L. Charity (Lithuania) Birmingham City Council
OFT (written undertaking)
LD
OFT
1939 Act
CMARs
31 Jan & 1 Feb 2007 (arrests) Prosecutions? and police cautions See LACORS article   Solihull Council (West Midlands) TSD Fraud Act XX
21 May 2009 E&C Export Ltd (of Essex) Children's Heart Surgery Fund (Leeds hospital) Cardiff Council (South Wales) LD 1939 Act
Mid 2009 "A business run by Lithuanian criminals"   North Yorkshire County Council TSD ?
c17 Dec 2010 Dragon Recycling Ltd * (of Pontypridd, South Wales) 3 offences Noah's Ark Appeal for Wales (Cardiff children's hospital) Rhondda Cynon Taf Council (South Wales) TSD  
2011
 
       
28 Jan 2011 Ragtex UK Ltd (of Leicester) Rainbows Children's Hospice (Loughborough) NW Leics District Council LD 1939 Act
28 Jan 2011 D B Collections Ltd (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire) Air Ambulance Service * [AAS] / local air ambulance charities NW Leics District Council LD 1939 Act
21 Feb 2011 Kostas Mesletys (working for Supporting Arms Ltd * of Dagenham, Essex) 2 offences needy in Africa Devon County Council TSD CPRs
c1 Mar 2011 Dalius Vaicekauskas (a Lithuanian living in the Caerphilly area) see news release   Caerphilly County Borough Council (South Wales) and Gwent Police TSD
 
CPS?
Theft
XX
30 Mar 2011 SOS Support Ltd (of Newport, South Wales)   Caerphilly County Borough Council (South Wales) TSD 1939 Act
19 May 2011 SOS Clothes Ltd (of London)   East Northants Council LD 1939 Act
24 May 2011 Hand of Help UK Ltd (of Leeds) Two Sisters - in Zambia (Africa) NW Leics District Council LD 1939 Act
20 July 2011 GT Recycling Initiatives Ltd (of Aylesbury, Bucks) PACE Centre (Aylesbury), James Hopkins Trust (of Gloucester) NW Leics District Council LD 1939 Act
Aug 2011+ Air Ambulance Support CIC * [AASCIC] (of Birmingham) local air ambulance charities Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council (Warwickshire)
ACTION PENDING ?`
LD? 1939 Act?
11 Nov 2011 Hand of Help UK Ltd (of Leeds) 5 more offences Two Sisters - in Zambia (Africa) NW Leics District Council LD 1939 Act
2 Dec 2011 Anthony Joseph Durkin / Air Ambulance Service (Trading Co) Ltd * [AASTC] (of Bicester, Oxfordshire) 9 offences Air Ambulance Service * [AAS] / local air ambulance charities West Berkshire and Wokingham TSD CPRs
22 Dec 2011 Alra Clothing Ltd (of Manchester)   Caerphilly County Borough Council (South Wales)
TSD 1939 Act
2012
 
       
3 Jan 2012 Hand of Help UK Ltd (of Leeds)   Caerphilly County Borough Council (South Wales) TSD 1939 Act
27 Jan 2012 SOS Support Ltd (of Newport, South Wales)   Caerphilly County Borough Council (South Wales) TSD 1939 Act
2 Mar 2012 Air Ambulance Recycling Ltd *
(of Birmingham)
local air ambulance charities Kirklees Council (West Yorkshire) LD 1939 Act
8 Mar 2012 D & P Textile Solutions Ltd Troop Aid NW Leics District Council ACTION PENDING ?` LD 1939 Act
21 May 2012 GT Recycling Initiatives Ltd (of Aylesbury, Bucks) PACE Centre (Aylesbury, Bucks) Hertfordshire County Council TSD CPRs
Aug 2012 Martynas Jasinskas (a Lithuanian, aged 24, of Burnley) - fake leaflets NW Air Ambulance - see Daily Mirror   Greater Manchester Police
(Bury Magistrates Court)
  Fraud Act? XX
21 Dec 2012 The Drops of Help Ltd (TDOH) *
(of Beckton, London E6 5QJ)
"poor families..." Kent County Council TSD CPRs
2013
 
       
27 March 2013 Sparco Ltd / Darius Kaminskas (a Lithuanian, aged 25, of Bristol) Barnardo's / Bernhardos, Azzara (breast cancer) Bristol City Council [+ South West Scambusters Team] TSD CPRs? XX

List (b) Full details

2001 (Thurs 2 Aug) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Two collectors (individuals)
Alleged charitable cause:  "Third World Recycling"
Penalty:
- Mr A was fined £150 and ordered to pay £150 costs
- Mr B was fined £100 and ordered to pay £150 costs
At: Towcester Magistrates' Court (Northants)
Prosecutor:  South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) - licensing department
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939

See our page: Successful prosecution of bogus house-to-house clothing collectors.

2004 (11 June) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Nicholas Rees (as an individual)
Alleged charitable cause:  "H.K.L. Charity" (in Lithuania)
Penalty:  Fined £500 and costs of £430 were awarded against him
(the maximum fine at the time was reported to be £500)
At:  Birmingham Magistrates' Court (West Midlands)
Prosecutor:  Birmingham City Council - licensing department
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939

He was prosecuted for carrying out an unlicensed charitable collection (of clothes).
His leaflets mentioned "Kosta Ltd".  However, it seems he had no connection with the company.  The company Kosta Ltd was dissolved on 25 Nov 2003.

See our page on this :
Prosecution of Nicholas Rees (clothing collector) by Birmingham City Council

Also, Mr Rees gave written undertakings to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations (CMARs) 1988.  See:
- press release by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)  
- our page on Regulators (the section on the OFT).

2007 (31 Jan+) Clothing collections : prosecutions?, police cautions

See summary table above

2009 (21 May) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  E&C Export Ltd (of Dagenham, Essex)
Alleged charitable cause:  Children's Heart Surgery Fund (Leeds hospital, West Yorkshire)
Penalty:  £750 fine
At:  Cardiff Magistrates' Court
Prosecutor:  Cardiff Council - licensing department (South Wales)
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.

See :
• image of one of their leaflets above
Successful prosecution of unlicensed charitable house-to-house clothing collector.

2009 (mid) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  "A business run by Lithuanian criminals"
Prosecutor:  North Yorkshire County Council - trading standards
Legislation used:  ?

They were prosecuted for falsely claiming to be licensed charity collectors when carrying out door-to-door collections of clothing.
See www.NorthYorks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10672  

2010 (c17 Dec) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Dragon Recycling Ltd (of Pontypridd, South Wales)
Alleged charitable cause:  The Noah's Ark Appeal for Wales (children's hospital)
Penalty:  £100 for each of the three charges, £250 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge
At:  Pontypridd Magistrates' Court
Prosecutor:  Rhondda Cynon Taf Council - trading standards (South Wales)

The company pleaded guilty to three charges of distributing bogus (fake) charity clothing collection bags with "The Noah's Ark Appeal for Wales" written on them.
See :
www.WalesOnline.co.uk/news.../2009/12/17/business-fined-300-over-fake-charity-bags...  

The company was dissolved 5 weeks after this prosecution.

2011 (Fri 28 Jan) Clothing collections : TWO prosecutions (unrelated)

Who was prosecuted?:
- Ragtex UK Ltd
- D B Collections Ltd

Ragtex UK Ltd:
Offence:  Holding an unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection.
Collecting on behalf of Rainbows [charity] in June 2010, using bags.
The defendant pleaded guilty by post with a letter of mitigation.
Penalty:  £400 fine - with full costs order (£950) being awarded to the Council.

D B Collections Ltd:
Offence:  Holding an unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection.
Collecting on behalf of "Air Ambulance Service" [AAS] in June 2010.
The defendant pleaded guilty on the day.
Penalty:  £250 fine - with full costs order (£750) being awarded to the Council.

Both at:  Coalville Magistrates Court.
Prosecutor:  North West Leicestershire District Council - licensing department.
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing:  7 months in both cases.

This case was unusual - the court dealt with two collection companies on the same day.  The incidents were unrelated.
See www.nwleics.gov.uk/news/2011/01/31/door_to_door_charity_bag_collectors_fined  

See also the Council's prosecutions of other collectors.

2011 (21 Feb) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Kostas Mesletys (working for Supporting Arms Ltd, of Dagenham, Essex)
Alleged charitable cause:  The bags showed a pair of hands cradling a globe of the world centred on Africa and bore the phrase "Please help those who really need your support".
Penalty:  £100 for each of two offences, plus £1,000 costs
At:  Plymouth Magistrates' Court
Prosecutor:  Devon County Council - trading standards
Legislation used:  There were two offences of misleading actions under the "Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008" (the CPRs).

He was fined after distributing bogus bags in Devon for the clothing collection company called Supporting Arms Ltd.  See:

2011 (30 March) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  SOS Support Ltd
Offence:  Promoting an unlicensed collection in the Penpedairheol area on 29 March 2010
Alleged charitable cause: 
Penalty:  £1,000 fine and £608 costs
At:  Cwmbran Magistrates Court
Prosecutor:  Caerphilly County Borough Council - trading standards (South Wales)
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939
Period between collection date and court hearing:  1 year and 1 day

Previous warnings had been given to the company regarding similar incidents.
An application by the defendant to reopen the case is pending.

See :
Caerphilly Council: List of prosecutions by Trading Standards  

Article in "Caerphilly Observer" - Mon 4 April 2011 :
"Bogus charity bag company prosecuted"  
This article appears to indicate that the prosecution was for (1) distribution of empty collection bags, rather than for (2) collecting filled bags of clothes.  This would be unusual - and ground-breaking.  This is the method of prosecution used by NW Leicestershire District Council. *

2011 (Thurs 19 May) Clothing collections : prosecution

Note: Don't confuse this "SOS..." company with the unrelated "SOS..." company above.

Who was prosecuted?:  SOS Clothes Ltd (based in London).
Offence:  Conducting an unlicensed collection in Irthlingborough on 23 September 2010.
Alleged charitable cause:
Penalty:  £250 fine, costs of £100, £15 victim surcharge (guilty plea).
At:  Wellingborough Magistrates Court (Northants).
Prosecutor:  East Northamptonshire Council (ENC).
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing:  7.9 months.

The company had previously been refused a licence by the council for failing to supply information on what happened to the funds raised from donated clothing.

See Prosecution by East Northamptonshire Council (news release by the Council)  
Headed: "Successful prosecution of unlicensed charity clothing collector"

2011 (Tues 24 May) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Hand of Help UK Ltd.
Delivery:  Bags, in Sept 2010.
Offence:  Promoting an unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection (clothing).
Charitable cause:  Two Sisters - in Zambia (Africa).
Penalty:  £650 fine with full costs order.
At:  Loughborough Magistrates Court (Leics).
Prosecutor:  NW Leicestershire District Council - licensing department.
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing:  8 months.

The defendant was represented and pleaded guilty at Court.

The Council successfully prosecuted this company again on 11th Nov 2011 - see below.
See also the Council's prosecutions of other collectors.

2011 (Wed 20 July) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  GT Recycling Initiatives Ltd (based in Aylesbury, Bucks).
Delivery:  Bags, in NW Leicestershire, in Sept 2010.
Offence:  Unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection (clothing).
Charitable cause:  The PACE Centre [Aylesbury], and James Hopkins Trust for special children.
Penalty:  £750 fine with full costs order.
At:  Loughborough Magistrates Court (Leics).
Prosecutor:  NW Leicestershire District Council - licensing department.
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing:  10 months.

The defendant pleaded not guilty and represented himself.
He admitted the promotion and collection but his defence centred around his view that the 1939 Act doesn't apply to him as a commercial operator and only applies to charities.
He therefore didn't think that he needed a licence to hold the collection.
The clerk disagreed with the defendant and advised the Magistrates that he does fall under the Act.  Therefore they had to be satisfied whether an unlicensed collection had taken place or not.  The Magistrates found the defendant guilty.

Note:

See also the Council's prosecutions of other collectors - eg on 28 Jan 2011.

2011 (August) Clothing collections : action pending? *

Air Ambulance Support - 'Police lay in wait' article by Nuneaton News
Hover mouse over image to ENLARGE it

On Tuesday 16 August 2011, Warwickshire Police arrested two men who were collecting clothes in the St Nicholas Park area of Nuneaton on behalf of "Air Ambulance Support CIC".

The operation was carried out in conjunction with Nuneaton And Bedworth Borough Council's Licensing Department and Warwickshire County Trading Standards.

The men were questioned on suspicion of fraud by false representation.  Both men were released on police bail, pending further enquiries.

The arrests were reported in the "Nuneaton News"   around 19 August.
The article was headed "Police lay in wait" - see image (our thanks to the newspaper and KK).

2011 (Fri 11 Nov) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Hand of Help UK Ltd
Delivery:  Bags, in Asby de la Zouch and Coalville (Leics) in April and May 2011.
Offence:  Five offences of unlicensed charitable house-to-house collections (clothing).
Charitable cause:  Two Sisters - in Zambia (Africa).
Penalty:  £400 fine for each of the five offences (total £2,000), and full costs order (£883.46).
At:  Loughborough Magistrates' Court (Leics).
The defendant failed to attend but the District Judge decided to hear the matter in their absence.
Prosecutor:  NW Leicestershire District Council - licensing department.
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing: 6-7 months.

See: NW Leicestershire District Council - News (Mon 14 Nov 2011)  

The Council had successfully prosecuted this company for the same offence on 24 May 2011.
See also the Council's prosecutions of other collectors - eg on 28 Jan 2011.

2011 (2 Dec) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Anthony Joseph Durkin of Bernwood Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire,
a director of Air Ambulance Service (Trading Co) Ltd [AASTC].
Delivery:  Leaflets, in Wokingham/West Berkshire.
Offence:  The charges related to failures of professional diligence, deceiving consumers and misleading omissions.
Alleged charitable cause:  "Air Ambulance Service" [AAS] / genuine local air ambulance charities.
Penalty: Fined £580 on each of nine charges (total £5,220), £500 costs, £15 victim surcharge
At:  Bracknell Magistrates' Court (Berkshire).
The defendant pleaded guilty to nine offences under the CPRs.
Prosecutor:  West Berkshire and Wokingham Trading Standards.
The case was brought by West Berkshire Council’s legal services team.
Legislation used:  Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 =the CPRs.
Period between collection date and court hearing:

See: "Conviction for falsely claiming to collect for Air Ambulance"  
=News item on the website of Wokingham Borough Council (Berkshire)

Both of Mr Durkin's companies (AASTC and AAS) were closed down   by the Government's "Company Investigations" unit (in the High Court, London) on 2nd Nov 2011 (exactly one month before this prosecution).

2011 (22 Dec) Clothing collection : prosecution

Alra Clothing Ltd

See:

News item on the website of Caerphilly Council (our thanks to the Council) :

"Clothing collection companies prosecuted
 
11 January 2012
 
Two clothing collection companies have been taken to court and fined for promoting unlicensed charitable collections in Caerphilly county borough.
 
Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards department took the two companies, Hand of Help UK Ltd and Alra Clothing Ltd to court, after they were both found to be distributing charity clothing collection bags without first obtaining a local authority licence.
 
Both companies were found guilty of offences committed under the House to House Collections Act 1939 (as amended).
 
Hand of Help UK Ltd was fined a total of £2,000 at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 3rd January 2012 for offences committed in Hendredenny and Pontllanfraith.  The Director, Tomas Pocevicius was fined a total of £500 for the same offences.  Costs were also awarded to Caerphilly County Borough Council totalling £250.
 
Alra Clothing Ltd was fined a total of £340 at Newport Magistrates Court on 22nd December 2011 for offences committed in the Blackwood area.  The company was also ordered to pay costs of £505.
 
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said, "It is imperative that companies undertaking door to door collections in our county borough have the correct documentation from the council to allow them to do this legally.  I hope these prosecutions will act as a deterrent to others".
 
For further information on the work Trading Standards carry out in Caerphilly county borough, please visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/tradingstandards "

2012 (3 Jan) Clothing collection : prosecution

Hand of Help UK Ltd - by Caerphilly Council - see the Council's news article above

2012 (27 Jan) Clothing collection : prosecution

SOS Support Ltd - by Caerphilly Council (South Wales)

See News item by Caerphilly Council  

Copy of the news item (our thanks to the Council) :

"Bogus charity bag collector prosecuted
 
08 February 2012
 
A company that delivered charity collection bags without the correct licence has been prosecuted following an investigation by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards officers.
 
SOS Support Limited was convicted of promoting a charitable collection in the Penpedairheol area of Caerphilly county borough without first obtaining a local authority licence to do so.
 
The case was heard at Abergavenny Magistrates Court on 27th January 2012.  The company was fined £900 and ordered to pay costs of the local authority of £520.
 
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said, "The charitable collection licensing system is designed to ensure that those purporting to be collecting for a charity are passing on a reasonable proportion of the proceeds of that collection".
 
He continued, "By doing this it ensures that charities are obtaining the money claimed to be passed over.  By collecting without a licence these safeguards cannot be put in place, potentially putting charities at risk of not receiving any funds made in their name".
 
SOS Support Limited had previously been issued with two warnings telling them not to collect without a local authority licence.
 
The advice Trading Standards are offering is to 'Give with Care' by checking for a UK charity number on any collection bags or leaflets.  Numbers can be checked on the Charity Commission website or by calling 0845 300 0218.  The safest option is to take clothing along to a local charity shop if at all possible.
 
For further information or to report a concern, please contact Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards team on 01495 235 291. "

2012 (Fri 2 March) Clothing collection : prosecution

On Friday 22 July 2011, in a joint operation between Kirklees Council Licensing (West Yorkshire) and West Yorkshire Police, three people (East Europeans) were arrested collecting clothes in Huddersfield for the company called "Air Ambulance Support CIC".

The Council prosecuted two of the collectors, using the House to House Collections Act 1939.
The director of the company (Evaldas Guoga, of Birmingham) was prosecuted too (he promoted the collection).

See the Council's press release - dated 22 July 2011:
"Police and council action on illegal charity collection"  

The final paragraph of the press release states :

"If anyone in the Kirklees area receives a collection leaflet through their door, please don't hesitate to check that it is legitimate by contacting the Licensing Service on 01484 456858."

Comment by CharityBags:  This press release is a rare (but welcome) case of a licensing department inviting the public to contact them (rather than suggesting Consumer Direct/trading standards, the Charity Commission, police etc).

The case was first heard on 2 Nov 2011.  The case was adjourned until Friday 30 Dec 2011.

On 30 Dec 2011, neither the two collectors or Evaldas Guoga attended the hearing.
An application was therefore made for warrants with no bail for all three individuals.
The court granted the applications.  A further court hearing took place on 2 March 2012, as follows.

Date of hearing:  Fri 2 March 2012.
Who was prosecuted?:  Air Ambulance Recycling Ltd (of 236 Lozells Road, Birmingham).
Location of incident:  Clothing collection in Huddersfield on Fri 22 July 2011.
Legislation used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Offence:  Conducting an unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection (clothing).
Charitable cause:  the Air Ambulance service.
Penalty:  £1,000 fine, costs of £300, a victim surcharge of £15.
At:  Kirklees Magistrates' Court (Huddersfield).
The defendants failed to attend but the court decided to hear the matter in their absence.
Prosecutor:  Kirklees Council - licensing department.
Period between collection date and final court hearing:  8 months.

The fine: The magistrates, when considering sentence stated that the potential gain was quite significant and there was no credit for an early guilty plea.  Therefore they imposed the maximum fine possible (£1,000).

See Kirklees Council's press release dated 7 March 2012 :
Headed: "Bogus charity collection company prosecuted"    Extract :

"A bogus collection company has been fined at Kirklees Magistrates Court for carrying out unlicensed house to house collections.
 
The company, which carried out an unlicensed house to house collection purporting to be for the benefit of the Air Ambulance service, was successfully prosecuted by Kirklees Council on March 2.  They did not appear in court and were convicted in their absence.
 
Air Ambulance Recycling Ltd of 236 Lozells Road, Birmingham organised and promoted a collection in the Huddersfield area in July 2011 but the collectors were intercepted by Kirklees Council officers and West Yorkshire Police.
 
The court imposed the maximum fine that is allowed under the House to House Collections Act 1939 of £1000 and ordered costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £15.
 
The ongoing prosecution against the director of the company and the two collectors remains pending with outstanding warrants issued for their arrest.
 
A prosecution against a sister company - Air Ambulance Support Community Interest Company - was withdrawn after the company was struck off the Companies House register by the High Court in November 2011."
 
[Our thanks to the Council.  Bold above added by CharityBags.]

Note: The company called "Air Ambulance Support CIC" was closed down   by the Government's "Company Investigations" unit (in the High Court, London) on 2nd Nov 2011 - see below.

2012 (8 March) Clothing collections : prosecution PENDING *

Who is being prosecuted?:  D & P Textile Solutions Ltd
Delivery:  Bags, in NW Leicestershire, in March 2011.
Alleged offence:  Unlicensed charitable house-to-house collection (clothing).
Charitable cause:  Troop Aid.
At:  A Magistrates' Court (Leics).
Prosecutor:  NW Leicestershire District Council - licensing department.
Legislation being used:  House to House Collections Act 1939.
Period between collection date and court hearing:  12 months.

As at Dec 2011, the trial is set for 8 March 2012.`

See also the Council's prosecutions of other collectors.

2012 (21 May) Clothing collections : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?: GT Recycling Initiatives Ltd (of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire)
Delivery: Bags in Welwyn Garden City (Herts)
Alleged charitable cause: The PACE Centre (Aylesbury, Bucks) - a disability charity
Penalty: £1,000 fine, plus prosecution costs of £1,286.40
At: Watford Magistrates Court (Herts)
The defendant pleaded guilty
Prosecutor: Hertfordshire County Council - Trading Standards
Legislation used: The Consumer Protection Regulations 2008 (=the CPRs)

2012 (21 Dec) Clothing collections : prosecution `

Who was prosecuted?: The Drops of Help Ltd (TDOH) (of Beckton, London E6 5QJ)
Delivery: Bags in Gravesend (Kent)
Alleged charitable cause: The company aimed: "... to help and support poor families (especially children), around the globe who cannot afford to buy clothes for themselves"
Penalties:
- £10,000 fine for the company
- Mr Puzas: 2 years imprisonment (suspended for 2 years), 250 hours community service
  ordered to pay £31,000 costs
- Ms Puziene: 150 hours community service
Both were disqualified from being a director
"For ten offences of misleading actions and omissions under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations"
At: Dartford Magistrates Court (23 Oct 2012), then Maidstone Crown Court (21 Dec 2012)
Prosecutor: Kent County Council - Trading Standards
Legislation used: The Consumer Protection Regulations 2008 (=the CPRs)

"Nowhere to hide for bogus charities as Kent [County Council] cracks down on fraudsters"  
Press release by Kent County Council (KCC) Trading Standards - 16 Jan 2013 (.doc Word file)
(Our thanks to the Council.)

The company was run by a Lithuanian couple.  "Director of the company Vaidotas Puzas, was sentenced to the maximum two years imprisonment (suspended for two years) and 250 hours community service.  His wife, Asta Puziene, was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months."

The judge described their actions as "despicable" and "aimed at misleading the public".

"The director claimed he distributed 100,000 collection bags to homes in Kent and Surrey every 2-3 months - representing just one of many collectors in a crowded market.  He claimed he was getting 40 - 80p per kilo [£400 to £800 per tonne] for the clothes and the paperwork obtained during the investigation indicated he was receiving £8,000 to £10,000 per lorry load."

Also see the entry for 'The Drops of Help Ltd' on our A-Z list of collectors page (letter D).

Below: images of their bag - copied from the company's website at July 2013 :

2013 (27 March) Clothing collections : prosecution `

Who was prosecuted?:  Sparco Ltd / Darius Kaminskas (a Lithuanian, aged 25, of Bristol)
Penalty:  jailed for 13 months; disqualified from being a company director for 7 years
Prosecutor:  Bristol City Council - Trading Standards

See BBC News website  

See Daily Mail  

See Third Sector website  

See "Jailed: the fraudster who made £50,000 from people who thought he was collecting for Barnardo's"   = Article on the Daily Echo / Bournemouth Echo website

 

Notes on the prosecutions listed above

These notes relate only to the successful (completed) prosecutions above.
In other words, they exclude the recent cases where prosecutions are pending.

See also related pages such as :

Note - The analysis below doesn't include the prosecutions we added after Aug 2011.

When we last analysed them (August 2011), there were 10 prosecutions in our list above :

Note - These statistics above assume that :

Court used :  It seems that all the cases were dealt with in a Magistrates' Court
(none were in a Crown Court).

Status of the defendants :

Penalties :

Was a charity mentioned?

Court attendance:  In one or two cases, the defendant didn't attend the court hearing
(so he was found guilty "in his absence").

Plea:  In most of the cases, the defendant(s) pleaded guilty.

Verdict:  In all the cases the prosecution was successful - the defendant was found guilty.

In one case the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) also took action, obtaining a written undertaking - see 11 June 2004 (Nicholas Rees, Birmingham).

 

2. Prosecutions of charitable collectors - collecting money

Introduction

Charity collection boxes (for money)
Charity collection boxes (for money)

In law, whether you're collecting money or goods (eg clothes) it's a similar offence.  For example, the House to House Collections Act 1939 covers both.

Either the police or the local council licensing department can prosecute here (though using different legislation and with different penalties).

The focus of the list below is on house-to-house collections.  However (for now) we're including some street collections (we've colour-coded them for clarity).

2001 (Mon 26 March) (date of article) Collections for money : street: prosecution

"Two trustees of a children's cancer charity who stole nearly £250,000 of street collections, were jailed for theft yesterday.

Deborah Munro, 39, and Ian Dyke, 37, organised a collection of the money for the Hands of Hope Children's Cancer Fund, but only £5,000 went to cancer relief.
Munro, a mother of five from Beckton, east London, collapsed in the dock of Oxford Crown Court as she was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, to run concurrently, for each of three charges of theft.
Dyke, of Manningtree, Essex, was sentenced to 15 months after being found guilty of one count of theft."

"... This is a landmark case, the first ... where the trustees of a registered charity have been prosecuted for stealing from street collections. ... As the law stands, any competent crook can set up a registered charity."

The article includes comments by Philip Cowan, of Charity Check, which campaigns for tighter controls on charities. `

www.Independent.co.uk/...jail-for-pair-who-stole-from-charity....html  

2003 (Thurs 9 Oct) Collections for money : house-to-house : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  A 24-year-old woman from Normanton (Derby)
Penalty:  jailed for one year, and given a three-year ASBO
At:  Derby Crown Court
Prosecutor:  police

"Bogus charity collector jailed:
A Derby woman who falsely claimed to be collecting money for charity has been jailed for a year [for deception] and given a three-year Anti Social Behaviour Order [ASBO]."

Note:  She was collecting money house-to-house.

See http://news.BBC.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/3178974.stm  

2005 (June) Collections for money : house-to-house : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  A 27-year-old male heroin addict

"Bogus door-to-door 'charity' collector in Sheffield"
 
"He pleaded guilty to nine charges of obtaining money by deception.  He revealed he was responsible for a further 548 charges, totalling £2,082, but the prosecution accepted a lower figure of £725."

www.SheffieldForum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=45183  

2011 (Mon 14 Feb) (date of article) Collections for money : street : prosecution

Penalty:  jailed for 2 years
Prosecutor:  Gwent Police (SE Wales)

Note: The article below refers to collections in supermarkets etc - ie "street collections".
We don't know whether he made house-to-house collections as well.

"Caerphilly man jailed for two years after keeping £67,000 charity collection"
www.CaerphillyObserver.co.uk/news/21310/caerphilly-man-jailed-for-two-years-after-keeping-67000-charity-collection/  

2013 (Mon 1 July) Collections for money : street : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Harris Polak, 54 - of Liverpool
Penalty:  jailed for 3 years 9 months
At:  Liverpool Crown Court
Prosecutor:  Merseyside Police

"Liverpool man jailed over [supermarket] charity bucket fraud"  
= article on BBC News website
"A businessman has been jailed for three years and nine months after pleading guilty to taking at least £213,000 from charity collections."

Victims (three small charities):  Cancer Relief UK, Cerebral Palsy Care for Children, Clatterbridge Cancer Research Trust (now part of North West Cancer Research)

 

3. Prosecutions for theft of filled clothing collection bags

Beware! - When you put out a bag of clothes for collection, it's easy to assume that only the "official" clothing collector will collect it (whether he's bogus or not) - in other words the organisation which delivered the leaflet or bag.  However, there have been many cases where someone has stolen the bag - before the clothing collector arrives.
For more on this issue, see the Theft of filled bags (charity clothing collections) page.

Please note that this issue (the theft of filled collection bags by a "third party") is quite separate from the issue of whether the official collector is genuine/bona fide/licensed etc (this is dealt with in the list above).

There have been over 90 prosecutions for theft of filled collection bags in Britain since 2000 - many of them resulting from information supplied to the police by Clothes Aid.
We give examples below.  As well as prosecutions, we've included arrests and cautions.

Seized clothing bags (our thanks to the BBC)
Some of the bags of clothes
recovered by investigators 2006
(photo courtesy of the BBC)

2006 (18 Aug) Clothing collections : theft : arrest

Cardiff (South Wales)

Action by trading standards (Cardiff Council) and the police - stolen bags seized

"A man has been questioned and released on police bail after investigators found 77 bags of clothes at an address."

http://news.BBC.co.uk/1/hi/wales/ south_east/5263072.stm  

2008 (28 Nov) Clothing collections : theft : prosecution

Who was prosecuted?:  Two individuals from the collection company Polotex Ltd
Penalty:
- the first individual was fined £1,000 or 14 days imprisonment
- the second individual was fined £750 or 14 days imprisonment
At:  Ipswich Crown Court
Prosecutor:  Suffolk Police? `
Legislation used:  Theft Act?

On 8 April 2008, they were arrested in Stowmarket, Suffolk for stealing Clothes Aid collection bags.
"On 28 November 2008, they were charged at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty to theft."
See www.ClothesAid.co.uk/news_end2008.html  

This case was heard in a Crown Court - rather than a Magistrates' Court.
(A Crown Court is a higher court - typically it's used for more serious cases.)

The case is an example of one collector stealing from another.  This is quite common.

2010 (8 Oct) Clothing collections : theft : arrests

Leeds (West Yorkshire)
www.WestYorkshire.Police.uk/...Charity-Bag-Thefts-Two-Men-Arrested  

2011 (c17 Jan) Clothing collections : theft : police caution

Who was arrested and cautioned?:
- A man and a woman in Romford (London Borough of Havering, NE London)
Cautioned by:  Metropolitan Police

Summary:  A householder put out two bags for Clothes Aid (and they had "Clothes Aid" labels on them).
She put the bags out the evening before the collection day.  Thieves stole the bags.
The police were able to catch the culprits because the householder had CCTV images of them taking the bags.  The bags were recovered - and the clothes were donated to charity later.

See www.RomfordRecorder.co.uk/news/romford_charity_bag_thieves_caught_on_cctv  

2011 (Thurs 10 Feb) (date of article) Clothing collections : theft : 5 arrests

www.ourbobby.com/EN/News/Details.aspx?n1=5&n2=3452&nid=13048  

www.themissinglist.co.uk/police-appeal/50000-bags-of-charity-clothing-fraudulently-collected-by-lithuanian-gang-wentloog-road  

Extracts from the "police-appeal" page above (bold added by us) :

Heading:
"50,000 bags of charity clothing 'fraudulently collected' by Lithuanian gang: Wentloog Road, Cardiff CF3"
 
"It is believed the clothing, which fills six large shipping containers, has been fraudulently collected by criminals who have stolen bags left in good faith on people's doorsteps, and collected them directly from people who have fallen for fake charity collection rounds.
Officers made this discovery after a man (24) and a woman (19), both Lithuanian nationals, were arrested yesterday morning in Treorchy.
They have since been charged with offences relating to theft. ...
Three other Lithuanian nationals - two men aged 30, and a 48 year-old woman - have since been arrested and are currently in custody being questioned by officers."

Notes:  Apparently the clothes came from two sources :

2011 (Fri 4 March) (date of article) Clothing collections : theft : prosecution

Prosecutor:  Gwent Police (SE Wales)

"Dalius Vaicekauskas, originally from Lithuania, but residing in Llanhilleth and later Fairview, Blackwood, was caught carrying out a door-to-door collection of clothing bags without a licence in Cwmfelinfach.

As well as collecting charity bags on behalf of the company Vaicekauskas was collecting for, he also took bags from outside residents' homes for legitimate charities, including The Salvation Army and Barnardo's.

Vaicekauskas was charged with the theft of the bags belonging to the charities.
He appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates Court recently.
He was given a 12 month Community Order and ordered to pay £85 costs."

www.CaerphillyObserver.co.uk/news/25511/bogus-charity-collector-operating-in-cwmfelinfach-prosecuted  

For more cases, see also the website called "The Missing List": www.TheMissingList.co.uk  
Try searching it for "clothing collection" or similar.
The site is a "not-for-profit organisation, manned by volunteers".  It's unusual and innovative.

 

4. Other interceptions of collectors

Below, we've started listing some interceptions of collectors we've come across - which appear not to have resulted in prosecutions.  Nevertheless they're of some interest.

There are several stages involved in the legal process.  Below is a rough outline (beware: we're not lawyers) :

At any stage above, the authorities may choose to abandon action/proceedings - for example because of lack of evidence.  In some cases, a caution is given.

Arrests of clothing collectors in Kempsey, Worcester - 3 June 2011

Articles from the "Worcester News", by James Savage  www.worcesternews.co.uk   :

.../news/9065506._Bogus_charity_collectors_exposed__video  3 June 2011
- includes a video of the collectors

.../9069148.Shocking_no_action_against_ambulance_charity_bag_men_video   7 June

.../news/local/9075155._Charity_bag_firm_to_be_investigated   9 June 2011

.../news/local/9144863.It_s_time_to_bag_these_scammers   18 July 2011
- includes comments by the local MP (Harriett Baldwin)

Article on BBC News (Surrey) website dated 19 Aug 2011   Extract (start of article) :

"Surrey Police arrest three over clothing collections
 
Three people have been arrested on suspicion of carrying out illegal clothing collections in Surrey.
 
Tandridge council alerted police after being contacted by residents concerned about collections in Godstone.
 
According to the local authority, the suspects claimed to work on behalf of Save Lives in Cambodia, and an African charity called Two Sisters.
 
But the three were found not to have permits issued by the council to carry out the house-to-house collections.
 
Permit required
 
Insp Angie Austin, from Surrey Police, said: "We received information from Tandridge District Council about rogue charity workers operating in the Godstone area.
 
"As a direct result of this, my officers were able to arrest three suspects on suspicion of fraud."

People and organisations mentioned in the article :

Laws referred to :

At Jan 2012, the Council told us that the matter is the hands of the police.
It seems the Council decided not to prosecute.

 

5. Winding up (closing down) of collection companies

The following scam companies have been compulsorily wound up (closed down) by "Company Investigations" (part of the Insolvency Service of central government) in 2011 and 2012 :

AAS logo

See the A-Z List of clothing collectors page for details.
See www.air-ambulance-scams.org.uk  
See www.AirAmbulanceService.org.uk  

The following scam clothing collection company was closed down by "Company Investigations" on 16 January 2013 :

See the A-Z List of clothing collectors page (under 'D') for details - including links to articles.

Also see further up the page you're currently looking at (on prosecutions) for the prosecution of the company by Kent County Council Trading Standards in late 2012 - using the Consumer Protection Regulations.  (Our thanks to A of Tandridge.)

 

 

The Royal Courts of Justice, London (courtesy of Wikimedia.org)
 
The Royal Courts of Justice, London (courtesy of Wikimedia.org)