Action Desk: Bag load of trouble for soldiers charity plea

Doorstep collection bag by Helping Our Soldiers sponsored by DR Bags Company

Doorstep collection bag by Helping Our Soldiers sponsored by DR Bags Company

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Street collections for charity are a complicated business that can involve private companies - who take a cut.

It’s not a collection bag for Help for Heroes, but it looks a bit like one.

On the back it urges householders to leave out unwanted items for collection.

They are sold and £100 per tonne is given ‘to charities’. But none are mentioned.

The bags were being pushed through doors in Sheffield this week.

But due to the vagueness and the fact street collections are plagued by scammers, Action Desk dug a little deeper.

The flyer says, ‘Helping Our Soldiers’ and is sponsored by DR Bags Company.

Boss David Rawlinson, based in Cheltenham, said he gave the money to a charity called MS Mutual Support in Cambridgeshire.

He sub-contracted the collection work to a firm called PDP which he claimed has a Sheffield Council licence to do the work. He added: “With hindsight I wouldn’t have done the wording like this. I will update them.”

A Sheffield Council spokesperson said neither DR Bags nor PDP had a licence.

Suzanne Crighton of MS Mutual Support - a charity for military personnel affected by multiple sclerosis - confirmed the deal with DR Bags.

And she said several councils from around the country had called her to check credentials, so Mr Rawlinson was clearly in the process of applying for licences.

She believed DR Bags made about £500 a tonne from household goods, she added.

She said: “I do accept the the bags are a bit too generic but equally they are not fraudulent which is why I agreed they could go out as they are. I have, however, agreed with Mr Rawlinson that we will re-design the bag to make clear that Mutual Support will be the recipient of the money - and to explain clearly who we are and what we do.

“No more generic bags will be printed.”

Phil Glaves, of Sheffield Trading Standards, said: “If street collectors are not registered with the council then collecting is illegal.”