A MAN from Rednal who fraudulently collected charity bags in Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Norfolk, has been successfully prosecuted.
Evaldas Guoga distributed clothing collection bags, with ‘Air Ambulance’, ‘Urgent’ and ‘Clothing Collection’ printed on them in large letters, when in reality he was operating an organised scam.
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards officers working with Warwickshire Police stopped a collection van operating in the county and seized a shipment of the bogus bags and donated clothing.
They also spoke to duped residents, before sharing their evidence with Norfolk Trading Standards, who were already investigating Guoga.
Councillor Les Caborn, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for community safety, said: “This particular scam did untold damage to the ability of genuine charities to raise money and I am delighted, not only that the perpetrator of this crime was stopped and thousands of his bogus bags seized, but that he was subsequently successfully prosecuted."
Warwickshire county councillor Richard Chattaway, chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Doorstep clothing collections have long been a simple and popular way for residents to give to charity and genuine charities to collect. We will continue to work to tackle scams and ensure that communities can have confidence that when they put their unwanted items on the doorstep, their donations will benefit people in real need."
Guoga pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates Court to three offences under the Consumer Protection Act from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for misleading people with his ‘charity’ clothing collection bags in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £120 victim surcharge.
The court heard that Guoga set up a limited company called E&N Textiles in December 2010 and a website called “www.airambulanceservice.org.uk”, which had no connection to any legitimate air ambulance organisations. He subsequently had a large number of clothing collection bags printed with the words ‘Air Ambulance’, ‘Urgent’ and ‘Clothing Collection’ in large letters and a reference in very small print to the name of his company.
Passing sentence, the Chairman of the Magistrates described Mr Guoga’s actions as ‘a mean sort of offence’, ‘fraudulent’, and ‘an organised scam’, and told him that he was going to have to improve his trading morality.