Beware bogus charity collectors

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RESIDENTS and visitors to the Horsham District are being reminded to take care if they are approached by street or door to door charity collectors this Christmas and New Year period.

The message comes from Horsham District Council and Sussex Police at a time of year when there tends to be an increase in the number of bogus charity collectors.

Unlicensed collectors can sometimes be found in Horsham town centre and other busy town and village locations, usually selling charitable tickets.

In a normal year, Horsham District Council licenses over 150 street collections and takes great care to ensure that collection permits are only granted to genuine charities.

If in doubt, remember that:

All collectors should be able to produce a valid permit issued by Horsham District Council

Charity collectors should have a sealed collection container with the charity registration number and name on it. A business or company registration number is not a charity registration number

Collectors should be able to describe the charity’s work in sufficient detail

Charities selling competition tickets should be able to produce a licence issued by Horsham District Council

Door to Door collectors should be wearing badges issued by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO).

Councillor Peter Rowlinson, Cabinet Member for Planning and the Environment at Horsham District Council, said:

“Whilst thankfully charity fraud is rare, there are some people who set out to prey on the generosity of others.

“It’s not our intention to stop people giving to charity but to encourage them simply to be aware of who, what, where and why they are giving.

“If in doubt, don’t be afraid to say no and report the matter to Horsham District Council or the Police.”

Horsham District Commander Chief Inspector Mark Trimmer of Sussex Police said:

“Christmas shoppers should take care when opening their wallets and purses in public view.

“Our advice would be to avoid giving out any personal information in the street, including address and bank details, which could be used by an unscrupulous person to access your finances or to allow them use your identity.

“Instead, consider researching the organisation on the internet when you get home.”

Further information and advice is available from Horsham District Council on 01403 215488 or from Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 (non emergency telephone number) or the Charity Commission on 0845 3000 218.