Watch out for cruel charity collection con

A BOGUS charity collector is targeting homes in St John's Wood

Susanna Wilkey

A BOGUS charity collector is targeting homes in St John's Wood.

A young girl has been knocking door to door in the area claiming to be collecting sponsorship money for a bungee jump to help a teenage cancer charity.

But the charity - The Laura Crane Trust - is based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and knows nothing about the bungee jump or the collecting.

Fundraising manager Pamela Thornes said: "We received a telephone call from a gentleman asking if we were aware of a young girl collecting sponsorship money for a bungee jump by going door-to-door collecting.

"We are not at the present time aware of anybody fundraising on our behalf in St John's Wood area and The Laura Crane Trust would never give permission for any third party fundraiser - somebody who is willing to fundraise on behalf of the charity via their own event - to collect house to house."

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Collecting door to door is illegal without a licence and documentation from the police or the council as well as documentation from the charity.

Ms Thornes said: "Charities rely greatly on the trust and confidence of the general public and income suffers when this trust and confidence is damaged.

"Bogus fundraising activity undermines the trust and confidence in the charity and fundraising sector and could ultimately reduce levels of charitable giving.

"It is very disappointing that somebody would do this. It is hard enough raising funds without this kind of thing happening and it is not very nice for the people in the houses.

"For some people, it can be quite frightening and the last thing we want is to upset anybody."

Inspector John Stone from St John's Wood police said: "If people are in any doubt at all about the true identity of someone at their door then do not give them any money and call the police who will verify their details.

"This type of thing is a problem unfortunately and it is often not organised thieves but spontaneous fraudsters chancing their arm.

"If they are real collectors, they will have no problem if you check their details with the police."

The trust is a youth cancer charity with two aims. The first is to fund research into cancers affecting young people aged 13 to 25 and the second is to provide funding to the 23 hospitals throughout Britain which admit young cancer patients.

This year, the trust gave out 240 MP3 players to hospitals across the country as part of its Christmas appeal.

o For more information or to make a donation visit www.laura