Warning over bogus Children in Need collectors

Published 5th November 2018

Children in Need scam

Generous residents are being warned against giving money to unlicensed charity collectors in the run up to Children in Need.

Sandwell Council’s licensing team is particularly advising people not to give to collectors stopping vehicles at traffic lights.

The warning comes after unlicensed collectors dressed in superhero and animal costumes stopped drivers at junctions across Sandwell in previous years.

After a similar warning went out in the run up to last year’s Children in Need and Sport Relief in March, these collectors avoided the usual spots -  specifically Birchley Island near Junction 2 of the M5.

Registered collectors are also not allowed to collect at traffic junctions – they must be stationary and not collect anywhere that causes danger to themselves or the public. 

Anyone collecting money for charity on the street in Sandwell must have a street collection permit. The fine for being caught without one is £200 - plus possible police action. 

Sandwell Council has not received any applications for street collections in aid of Children in Need this year. Junctions around the borough will be monitored for bogus collectors in the coming weeks. 

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said: “This issue became a concern for us in previous years as we had not issued any street collection licenses for charity collectors – yet we had people collecting, often wearing animal or superhero costumes which concealed their identities.

“When we warned people not to give to people collecting at junctions, these collectors failed to materialise. Which makes you suspect they weren’t genuine.

“We do not want to stop anyone genuine collecting for Children In Need, but we do want to make sure that charities receive all of the money that is collected on their behalf.

“A street collection permit is free, all it takes is a few minutes to complete and submit an application to the licensing team.

“If you do see someone collecting and they don’t have a street collection permit, or they’re not following the rules on where they can stand and having sealed buckets, be sensible and make your donation to the charity direct.”

Licensed charity collectors must:

  • be aged 16 or over
  • not obstruct the public or cause them danger
  • stand 25 metres apart from each other and remain stationary
  • use sealed tins or buckets that clearly display the name of the charity.

To apply for a free street collection licence, to report a concern that a street collector is not genuine, or for any other questions, email licensing_team@sandwell.gov.uk

Donate directly to Children In Need.