Rogue collectors take charity shop donations

A CHARITY shop in Royston is losing out on donations as rogue collectors steal items left outside people’s homes.

The HFT shop, which is situated on the High Street and provides support for those with learning difficulties, lost around 40 per cent of its donations on a recent round due to unmarked vans picking up items that were meant for the shop’s official collectors.

Shop manager Zoe Goodwin said: “Our collectors are having major problems with bags of clothes going missing. We lost in excess of 40 per cent of our donation sacks on one round last week in the surrounding area.

“Not only are these people taking our donations but they’re also distributing sacks making people think they are collecting for charitable causes because they can make money out of used clothing.”

Mrs Goodwin said there has been reports of unmarked vans picking up bags in Coombelands, Studlands Rise and Layston Park in Royston, and several addresses in Ashwell.

The shop’s driver, who works around a 15 mile radius, has also encountered the same thing in Cambridge, Stevenage and Hoddesdon.

“This is a very underhand thing to do,” said Mrs Goodwin. “It undermines the work we do for people, and they are the ones that are going to suffer in the long run.”

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“People should contact us if they see any unmarked vans collecting our donations and it would help if they could make a note of the vehicle’s registration.

“If anyone is concerned about their donation, they should call us and we’ll organise our van to come and collect from your home address at a convenient time.

“We rely on donations from local people to keep our charity shop stocked and all of the money we make is used by Hft to support people with learning disabilities.”

Mrs Goodwin suspects there is an unauthorised collector staying one step ahead of the genuine collectors and collecting anything that is left out.

Contact the shop at 01763 256988 if you see any unmarked vehicles picking up charity bags, or if you would like to arrange a time for a collection.