A CHARITY in Eastbourne is giving advice to people who want to donate in the aftermath of criminal gangs stealing doorstep donations.
This week it was revealed charity shops are losing thousands of pounds each year because doorstep donations left out by unsuspecting residents are being stolen by organised gangs.
Gangs from Eastern Europe are believed to be responsible for stealing the bags, raiding metal clothing banks and selling the clothes abroad.
It is being put down to a trebling in the price for old clothing in the past three years.
The lucrative thefts mean a single clothes bank can contain a haul of £150 to £200 which is bad news for charity shops, which are struggling to cope with a drop in donations during the economic slump as people move house less often and keep old clothing for longer. At Age Concern Eastbourne officials are urging those who want to donate to bring items in to the shop rather than leave bags outside their homes.
Clive Wormald, the chief executive of the Eastbourne charity, said, “Unfortunately collecting donations via bags left on doorsteps does expose charities to the risk of theft. At Age Concern Eastbourne we do not collect in this way, and encourage local residents to bring their unwanted goods directly to us, either at the Venton Centre, in the heart of town, or at one of our three shops, in Grove Road, Brassey Parade and Green Street.
“This allows us to build a relationship with local donors, who can see at first hand where their goods will be sold. Additionally, it ensures we receive gift aid on these goods, boosting the value of donations up by 28p for every £1 sold.If people are concerned about the risk of theft of doorstep donations but are unable to bring their donated goods in person they can contact Age Concern direct on 721968 and we will arrange to collect unwanted clothing, shoes, bags, toys, books and items of furniture, both large and small.”