The clothing collection company Clothes Aid has called on the government to provide more police support in tackling charity bag collection crime.
The company sent a letter on Monday to Nick Herbert, the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, saying that Clothes Aid has received more than 3,000 reports from members of the public about charity bag theft since 2006. Although good progress has been made by the government in tackling the crime in some areas, in others it was still lacking, it says.
The letter, from Michael Lomotey, business manager at Clothes Aid, says: "I am aware that organised criminal activity is clearly involved in charity clothing bag and textile bin theft, but does not appear to be being tackled by any agencies at a level that will really disrupt their actions," it says.
It says that this had the potential to undermine all other efforts to tackle the crime.
"I have spoken to various other large organisations and charities and they have all expressed their own concerns about lack of enforcement and coordinated police actions," the letter says. "We must change this and see that organised crime is tackled, charity bag theft criminals are stopped and, when caught, properly punished."
Lomotey said Clothes Aid was concerned that criminal gangs could operate successfully in areas of the country where the problem was not being tackled.
"There are 43 police forces in England and Wales and a handful, up to four or five, are looking at the organised element and doing enough on that side of it," he said.
The letter asks Herbert for a meeting with Clothes Aid to discuss the issues raised.