A man has been convicted of stealing charity bags of clothing worth more than £40,000.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said that Arnas Gasiunas, 27, of South Esk Road, London E7, but formerly from Poland, was found guilty at Basildon Crown Court last week of taking bags meant for charities including the NSPCC from charity clothes bins or from people’s doorsteps to sell on for "a huge profit in Poland".
The police statement said that detectives in Havering, north-east London, were first alerted to the thefts in 2010 by Clothes Aid, after the clothing collections company had been informed by charities that bags were going missing in east London.
"Investigating officers were able to trace the bags to a lorry site and container yard," the statement said. "They discovered one shipping container filled with more than 3,000 bags of clothing, weighing more than 20 tonnes, which were all due to be transported to eastern Europe to be sold for a significant profit."
Gasiunas was arrested in October 2010, according to police, as he tried to load the bags for shipping, and was later charged with five counts of handling stolen goods.
Detective Sergeant John Kirby, who led the investigation for Havering police, said that a haul of this size proved that Gasiunas had been operating in an organised manner for some time.
"The clothes were stolen from doorsteps and registered charity clothes bins with a view to sell them on in eastern Europe," he said. "This man was not only duping generous homeowners who took the time to donate their clothes, but was also robbing charities of an essential form of income." He said the result "proves how seriously we have taken this crime and we hope it will deter others from stealing from registered charities".
Gasiunas will be sentenced on 28 November.