Bogus charity clothing collections arrests

A company was raided in Bristol by trading standards officers and police because of an investigation into a bogus charity clothing collections. Travel bags are alleged to have been sent by Sparco Ltd., which were printed with Breast Cancer and Bernhardos in Wales, the Midlands and southwest England to homes.

They are accused of keeping the cash and collecting the clothes that were meant for charity. The operation was led by the south west Scambusters team in conjunction with the trading standards and police.

Two houses were raided in Bristol in the Horfield area after over 100 people complained that they received the charity bags from the company with the complaints being centered round confusion over the bags. The confusion was caused because there were names on the bags that really could be genuine organizations such as Barnardos the children’s charity.

Scambusters’ Alan Evans said that many complaints had been received about the bags distribution and leaflets with what is suspected fraudulent claims that the proceeds are to go to charities. During the raid many computers and charity bags suspected to be part of the fraud were seized.

St. Peter’s Hospice of West Country at one time sent out over 26,000 charity bags each week but stopped and is now just doing doorstep collections because of many problems they had with bogus collectors.

A member of the charity said that the scammers would be out an hour before the collectors taking the bags and then re-sorting them and selling them into the international market and profiting. They now have just clothes banks and also organize home collection by telephone.