Charities that have clothes collection bags stolen could turn to private investigators to help them out.
Collection company Clothes Aid will make the suggestion at a meeting of charities that run clothes collections on 23 April. It will say organisations should consider pooling resources to hire private detectives to investigate bag theft and illegal collectors.
The 'summit' will look at how charities and collection agents can best tackle all the problems facing collections. Representatives from at least 25 charities, including Barnardo's, Traid and Scope, are expected to attend.
Michael Lomotey, campaigns spokesman for Clothes Aid, said the detective idea was just one that would be debated.
"Charities can lose out on a major source of income if clothing intended for them is picked up by dodgy collection agents," he said. "We estimate that about 14,000 tonnes of clothing are illegally exported each year."
Other suggestions to be discussed at the summit include lobbying the police and relevant authorities for tighter trading regulations and introducing a collectors' registration system.