Police investigate ‘counterfeit’ bags

The North West Air Ambulance charity donation bags, which are believed to be counterfeit
The North West Air Ambulance charity donation bags, which are believed to be counterfeit
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A large number of “fake” charity collection bags are reportedly being delivered to homes in Blackpool.

The plastic bags, which look authentic, claim to be raising money for the North West Air Ambulance – but the charity said it is not currently posting any bags in the area.

Police are investigating after a concerned resident reported her suspicions.

The woman, who asked not to be named, had a pile of bags delivered to her Burford Close home, in Normoss.

She said: “I think it’s despicable that people are doing this.

“You never know when you are going to need the air ambulance”

After repeatedly calling the phone number on the bags to enquire about collection but getting no response, the woman said she started to question whether the bags were genuine. She said some of the bags display the wrong charity number too.

She added: “The bags are counterfeit – the number on them is not correct. When I rang a number for the air ambulance they said they stopped delivering these bags last year. I think everybody should be aware of it.”

A neighbour added: “I was surprised to receive the bags and I’m now angry anyone could stoop so low.”

Jenny Haskey, head of fund-raising at the North West Air Ambulance, said: “We aren’t currently posting recycling bags to homes but the best way to get your goods to us is to take them direct to one of our stores.

“If you can’t make it into a store, you can arrange a collection by calling the store direct or by booking via our website.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We are looking into it. The neighbourhood policing team will be following it up and making inquiries.”

How to tell if a charity bag is the real deal

According to the Fund-raising Standards Board (FRSB), anyone who donates to charity using a posted collection bag should check for three things:

n The charity’s details, including its registered charity number should be written on the bag.

n The bag must have a disclosure saying how much of the proceeds will be split between the charity and the collection company, if they are using one.

n Charities signed up with the FRSB should use their tick logo.

Concerns should be raised with the FRSB or the charity itself.