Charities lose out after 750 clothing banks disappear

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Charities have lost out on hundreds of thousands of pounds after 750 clothing banks were stolen over the past year, according to the Textiles Recycling Association.

The TRA, the infrastructure body for the textiles recycling industry, told BBC programme 5 Live Investigates that there are around 15,000 charity clothing collection banks, each of which raises around £70 a week for charities, and that up to 20 a week are being stolen.

It costs up to £1,500 to replace a bank, and takes six to eight weeks.

The TRA said that in some cases clothing banks are moved to new locations and painted with the logo of another charity.

Its investigators have removed 200 clothing banks, placed in supermarket car parks without permission and repainted with the logo of another charity, Helping our Future, which is under investigation by the Charity Commission.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: "The Commission is examining the charity Helping Our Future as part of a regulatory compliance case.

"We have serious concerns about its management and activities, and are examining trustees' oversight of the charity, its relationship with third parties, including commercial fundraising companies, and whether the charity's management and operations have given rise to inappropriate benefit on the part of private individuals or companies."

The charity denied any wrongdoing to the BBC. Civil Society News has contacted the charity to ask for comment.

The BBC reported that a company which says it acts for Helping Our Future told the BBC: "We are an associated contractor to HOF Trading Limited which is the logistical partner to Helping our Future Charity.

"We are contracted to abide by a written protocol which prevents us from carrying out any criminal activity and bringing any holistic partner into disrepute."

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