Bogus collectors avoid prosecution

John Plummer

Nine fake charity workers were released without charge after being arrested last week.

The gang had conned people on doorsteps across the UK before a 25-strong police squad in Edinburgh caught them. The collectors, who had charity documents, claimed they were selling goods to raise money for dyslexia and asthma charities.

Lothian and Borders Police hailed the arrests as "a significant breakthrough into this form of bogus calling", despite the fact that no-one had been charged as Third Sector went to press.

Detective Inspector Jim Robertson admitted it was difficult to prevent this kind of scam. "What they are doing can be legal," he said. "However, they should have had a pedlar's licence."

The eight men and one woman were from the north of England, but were believed to have been operating in Edinburgh since before Christmas.

Lothian and Borders Police launched an operation after elderly people in the city complained about aggressive door-to-door sellers.

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