GENEROUS Wiganers are being warned to be on the look-out after a new spate of charity bag thefts.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) often posts empty bags across the borough for residents to donate unwanted clothes, shoes, handbags and other accessories for the charity, from which it takes 100 per cent of the profits.
However, a major issue has plagued the BHF for some time now with rogue collectors stealing full bags which have been left on doorsteps.
It’s an issue which costs the charity thousands of pounds each year and one which is rife in Wigan.
Standish resident Sharon Green reported one such incident to the charity this month after she left a bag out full of unwanted clothes.
The BHF is a cause particularly close to Sharon’s heart, as her young son born with a heart defect.
She said: “My husband had seen them take it but didn’t realise they weren’t from the charity. I asked if they had collected it and he said the bloke had pulled up in a grey/silver Transit van and gone away.
“I got in touch with the charity and was told about the problem. I think it’s absolutely disgusting. I was so upset because my son received fantastic care at Alder Hey Hospital, which the BHF works with and supports.”
Unfortunately, the issue is one which the charity is all to well aware of.
BHF collector Michael Burke says it is a regular problem and today warned those who donate to only put out their bags on allocated days and, if possible, keep an eye on who takes them. Michael always wears his BHF jacket and drives a white van with the charity’s logo emblazoned across it.
He said: “It’s a growing problem and is so frustrating. People need to be made aware of these charities as we have so many across the borough who are kind enough to help us. But with so many of these other collectors about, the goods don’t often go where they’re meant to be.”
It’s also believed that some of those taking the bags may be collectors for other charities. However, they aren’t directly employed by them. Instead, they are a separate company who simply make donations and print other charities’ names on the bags and just make a small donation. In the small print on some bags, it states that sums as low as £50 per tonne are donated to the charity.
Mike added: “You can make around £1,000 per tonne so to donate so low just shows that they are out for profit and just disguise this behind a charity’s name and make a small donation as a gesture. The BHF receives 100 per cent of the profit. There are many others across town who are the same such as Scope and Age UK.
“I’d just advise people to read the small print on the bags and they may get a fair idea of who they’re giving to.”
Many companies can only donate clothes and in one incident elsewhere in the borough, someone who had picked up a bag which was donated to the BHF had noticed toys in the bag and decided to dump the contents down the road with them being no use to them.