St Albans shoppers should be wary of fake charity collectors, council warns

A charity collector outside Boots in St Albans.

A charity collector outside Boots in St Albans.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

As the season of goodwill approaches shoppers should be wary of who they are giving to following concerns about a ‘fake charity collector’.

The charity 'Action for Humanity UK' is currently under investigationThe charity 'Action for Humanity UK' is currently under investigation

A complaint was made to the district council recently about a charity collector on St Peter’s Street, St Albans, who has been raising money for Action for Humanity.

The collector, who positions himself just outside Boots, had been collecting without a licence for some time when a suspicious resident checked with the council about whether he was allowed to be there.

The council only licenses a charity to collect on one day each year, with the odd exception, but had never issued Action for Humanity with a licence.

When the Herts Advertiser spoke to the manager at Boots on Friday (18), she said that she had been shown all the correct documentation and had no reason to believe he was fake.

But she admitted that she allowed a concerned member of her staff to alert the relevant authorities to check whether there was an issue as she did not know all the laws surrounding the issue.

Currently no arrests have been made by police.

Action for Humanity UK is technically a registered charity, but records on the Charity Commission website suggests that the charity’s spending is nearly double the income.

The Herts Advertiser can reveal that Action for Humanity UK, which claims to raise awareness and funds for people suffering with Alzheimer’s and Dementia in the UK, is currently under investigation by the Charity Commission.

A spokesperson said: “The Charity Commission opened a regulatory case into Action for Humanity UK in September after concerns were raised about the charity.

“We advise anyone with concerns about the charity to submit these to the Commission via its website and the concerns will be assessed as part of the ongoing case.”

St Albans council’s head of legal services, Michael Lovelady, who warned that collecting money without a licence could result in a £200 fine, said: “All charity street collectors must be licensed by the council. We undertake checks to ensure applicants are genuine.

“We received a complaint recently about a collector who collected regularly at the same spot in St Peter’s Street for different charities.

“Our records showed we had not issued a licence for such an individual.

“Unfortunately, there are some fake collectors operating in the UK. If you see someone you suspect is an unlicensed collector, don’t donate.”

He added that if anyone was suspicious, they should contact the police on the non-emergency number 101 or the council on 01727 819254.

The Charity Commission website can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission/services-information

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