A VOLUNTARY organisation which helps prosecute suspected bogus charity collectors has slammed Worcestershire trading standards for not taking tougher action against those operating in 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.

Chris Slack, from Charity bags.org.uk, said local authorities had “ample powers” to prosecute collectors under the House to House Collections Act. Mr Slack said the 1939 Act says it is an offence for companies to carry out house-to-house collections without a licence from the local authority if they imply they are raising money for good causes.

The bags distributed in Worcestershire by Air Ambulance Service said the company is “working towards providing financial assistance to reduce the costs of air ambulance transportation”.

Earlier this week, three people were arrested in Huddersfield under the Act after claiming to raise funds for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Mr Slack said: “Worcestershire Regulatory Services have ample powers to prosecute.

"There are some local authorities out there who are really clamping down on this.

"Any authority should be able to put a case against Air Ambulance Service armed with the 1939 House to House Collections Act.”

Steve Jorden, head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said the officer who worked on the case was aware of the Act and took the decision not to prosecute Mr Jorden said: “From our point of view it wasn’t a clear breach.

"We wouldn’t want to waste taxpayers’ money on a court case where we weren’t going to win.

“We will look at any complaints and if the evidence stacks up, we will take it forward. The evidence didn’t stack up in this case. The information stated it was a commercial company.

“In our view, the wording was suitably vague.”