A cancer charity is urging Wigan residents to be on their guard after its name and work were hijacked by vile scammers.
Breast Cancer Now spoke out today after a collection bag hoax which has plagued the Hawkley Hall and Poolstock areas in recent weeks.
Residents have reported that two men, who claim not to understand English, have been leaving Breast Cancer Now-branded sacks at homes, despite the charity confirming that it is not currently operating in the area.
One resident said: “I noticed what I can only describe as two scruffy charity bag men posting bags on the estate.“I stopped them and asked who they were posting bags for and they pretended they couldn’t speak English, both definitely weren’t local, in fact I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them.
“One was about 40 to 50, 5ft 5ins with a full set of brown rotten teeth and the other way about 19, quite tall and skinny, blond hair.”
The brave resident explained to the two men that he had called the charity, who assured that they were not doing a bag drop in the area. He also asked for the conman’s manager’s phone number to confirm that he worked for the charity.
He added: “The older guy, who miraculously all of a sudden understood English, said he didn’t have his phone so couldn’t give me the number. They left immediately and walked up Fulbeck (Road) and turned into Salesbury.
“They both stopped to look at a phone (which they’d just said they didn’t have) then continued to drop bags.”
The older man also produced a “fake-looking” ID for the air ambulance service in an attempt to prove his legitimacy.
Reports of similar incidents in Winstanley have also emerged, with one resident saying: “Might want to think about not putting plastic bags of clothes out anymore. The more bags you put out the longer they will operate in the area.”
The charity has pledged its commitment to sorting out the problem before anymore residents are conned into giving away clothes or items which would be useful to a legitimate charity appeal.
Catherine Miles, director of fund-raising and engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said: “Breast Cancer Now does not carry out textile clothing collections and no textile collection company is authorised to deliver or collect any bags bearing our name or logo.
“Some instances of unauthorised collections have been brought to our attention and we are working hard to resolve this issue as soon as we can. We would urge anybody who is approached to get in touch with us straight away or to report this matter to the local council or trading standards board.
“However, in the meantime, we would ask the residents of Wigan to avoid donating any clothes via these unauthorised bags as they will not benefit Breast Cancer Now.
“We have always benefitted from generous support from the people of Wigan and would like to thank the people of Wigan for their continued warm support of our vital breast cancer research.”