Hoax collectors will damage real charity

Air Ambulance charity chief executive Andy Williamson
Air Ambulance charity chief executive Andy Williamson

Rogue collectors in St Helens posing as a genuine charity could seriously affect the running of a crucial service.

The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) is concerned that vital income could be lost as a result of companies that carry out fraudulent activities and try to trade on the charity’s good name and reputation.

Worried about the effect that bogus clothing collections will have on its donations at the most important time of the year, Chief Executive Andy Williamson said: “Christmas donations of money and clothing are crucial to our service and yet we now have to worry that criminals are distributing bogus bags that try to fool people into thinking they are giving to us when they are not”.

TAAS has recently received several reports of a hoax charity, simply calling themselves ‘Air Ambulance Service’, sending out collection leaflets (pictured above) nationwide and encouraging people to donate to them.

These hoax leaflets ask people to donate unwanted items such as clothing, and provide a phone number and website address but do not include a registered charity number. The phone number provided is no longer in use and the website clearly states that the service is a ‘scam’.

The company originally responsible for distributing these leaflets was caught out and closed down by the High Court over two years ago. However, these leaflets appear to be in circulation once again, with reports of deliveries to addresses throughout England.

The Air Ambulance Service would like to make it very clear that this ‘Air Ambulance Service’ is a hoax charity and, despite adopting a very similar name, is in no way affiliated with ‘The Air Ambulance Service’.

Andy added: “We are extremely concerned that this will affect our legitimate collections. We would encourage everyone to please check the bags and make sure they support a true air ambulance charity. Criminal activities like this put people off from donating which, particularly at Christmas time, can be devastating.”

• The North West Air Ambulance covers this area