High Court shuts down unlicensed air ambulance fundraising companies

Three companies posing as clothing collectors have been closed after no evidence of donations to charities could be found

High Court
High Court

Three companies that posed as clothing collectors for air ambulance charities have been closed down by the High Court.

Air Ambulance Support Community Interest Company ("Air Ambulance Support CIC"), St Anthony (Trading Co) Ltd (formerly Air Ambulance Service (Trading Co) Ltd) and St Anthony Repatriation Ltd (formerly Air Ambulance Service), were wound up on 2 November after a probe by the company investigations division of the Insolvency Service.

The companies had distributed leaflets that looked similar to those of official air ambulance charities and bags to collect clothes from residents in southern England and the midlands, which would be sold to raise money for air ambulance charities.

But no evidence of a donation to an air ambulance charity by the companies was ever found and none of the companies was ever authorised by any air ambulance service to act as fundraisers, according to the Insolvency Service.

It said that a lack of proper company accounts meant it was unclear what happened to any money the firms made. None of the companies had a licence to collect for charity and complaints about them had been made to several local authorities.

The firms were found to be in breach of regulations contained in the House to House Collections Act 1939, which requires collectors to be licensed. They also broke section 124 of the Insolvency Act, which requires them to keep proper records.

The Insolvency Service is still investigating individuals connected to the companies, it said.

David Hill, investigation supervisor at the Insolvency Service, said: "In winding up these companies, the court is sending a clear message that schemes that set out to deliberately mislead the public in this manner are not acceptable and will be closed when we become aware of them."

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The Insolvency Service

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