TWO men have been arrested on suspicion of fraud after allegedly posing as collectors raising funds for the air ambulance.

Your Worcester News captured the alleged culprits on camera following a ‘sting’ operation moments before police arrived.

Leaflets and collection bags had been distributed around Worcestershire this week asking for unwanted goods to be left at the roadside.

The organisation uses the name Air Ambulance Service, which could imply the donations will be recycled to raise funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity.

The leaflet says the company is “working towards providing financial assistance to cover or reduce the cost of ground and air ambulance medical transportation”.

However, people are directed to a website which does not exist and told to phone or text a premium rate number for more details.

Concerns were raised by Kempsey parish councillor David Harrison, who is the local fund-raising co-ordinator for Midlands Air Ambulance, after he received a leaflet asking bags to be left out yesterday morning.

After placing two full collection bags in Brookend Lane, Kempsey, Worcester News reporter James Savage confronted two men who turned up in a red Transit van at 8am.

When asked about what they were doing, one man with a strong Eastern European accent said they were a commercial company.

He called his boss who would not give his name but said they were collecting for profit and claimed Trading Standards had no issue with them.

Following a call from Mr Harrison, police arrived minutes later and arrested both men on suspicion of fraud.

It is the fourth time in the past year that bogus charity collectors are known to have struck in Worcestershire.

Jason Levy, head of fund-raising at Midlands Air Ambulance, said: “The simple fact of this sort of thing undermines the whole basis of trust that governs our relationship with the public who so generously support and fund us, and rightly expect that their donations go towards our life-saving service.”

A spokesman for Trading Standards at the county council said they couldn’t comment on individual cases but encouraged people to be on their guard against companies who look to profit from gestures of goodwill.

The two men were in custody at Worcester police station as we went to press.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said anyone with further information should call 0300 3333000 quoting incident number 358/S/010611.