A WORCESTERSHIRE MP has thown her weight behind our demands for companies who falsely imply to be collecting on behalf of charities to be prosecuted.

Harriett Baldwin has vowed to work with the authorities to clamp down on the commercial collectors who have been distributing bags across the county.

As we previously reported, a company using the name Air Ambulance Service has been asking for unwanted clothing and other goods to be left at the roadside.

Two Lithuanian men were arrested in Kempsey, near Worcester, on suspicion of fraud and theft but were later released without charge.

Bags are currently being distributed in Worcester from another commercial company which implies it is raising money for victims of the Japan earthquake.

Simon Wilkes, business manager at Worcestershire Regulatory Services, (trading standards) said the wording being used on bags and leaflets is “suitably vague” making it impossible for legal action to be taken.

Mrs Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “This is clearly illegal yet I know from colleagues that it is a national problem. I urge Trading Standards and the local police to act.”

Speaking about the Air Ambulance Service collection bags, Mr Wilkes said: “It says they are working towards making contributions to the Air Ambulance. For that statement to be misleading we would have to prove they weren’t going to contemplate giving money to the charity in the future.

“These companies seemed to have moved away from blatant statements to vague suggestions of involvement with charity.

“The law states how we have to be able to prove something beyond reasonable doubt. If people get their wording on the bags right there is little we can do legally.”

Mrs Baldwin said the matter had already been raised in Parliament and the Fund-Raising Standards Board was working with Trading Standards to tighten the rules.

She said: “We would like to hear from anyone who has a decent reason to explain why they are not able to prosecute. We are eager to work with the police and trading standards to see what they think we can do to tackle the issue.

“We have got to fix this one because it is stopping people from giving money to good causes.”

Mr Wilkes said they have not ruled out any future prosecutions. He said: “We look at these things on a case by case basis. We are not going to ignore what is going on.

“If something comes up we will look at it.”