Hard work by Community Protection Officers from Rotherham Borough Council has led to the successful prosecution of a door-to-door clothing collection company.
Recycling Clothes Company Ltd. was ordered to pay a total of £2,860 last week by Rotherham Magistrates after the company pleaded guilty to two charges of promoting a charitable collection without a licence.
Rotherham Borough Council prosecuted under the House to House Collections Act of 1939, and the company was fined £600 for each offence, as well as being ordered to pay £1,600 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
The West Sussex-based firm had been requesting donations of clothing and bric-a-brac from charitable Rotherham households and leaving plastic sacks at homes before returning later to collect any bags left outside residents’ properties.
This was despite being refused a door-to-door collection licence by Rotherham Borough Council last year.
In 2012, the authority’s Licensing Board refused the applications because of concerns about how much money the firm would pass on to their nominated charity - the company had submitted that £75 out of every £800 raised would go to their nominated charity.
Despite the refusal, RCCL continued to make door-to-door collections - exploiting the generosity of Rotherham residents. Early one November morning last year, Community Protection Officers successfully intercepted workers from RCCL collecting the bags from households in the Hellaby area.
While the case was being investigated, the company continued to defy the council and the law. The firm returned to Rotherham in April this year to make further collections in the Aston area and yet again, council officers were lying-in-wait to prevent them.
Coun Peter Wootton, chairman of the Rotherham Licensing Board, said he hoped the case would send a clear message to collectors working in the borough.
He added: “Rotherham Borough Council recognises that there is a place for legal and licensed charity collectors to work within the borough. However, this case emphasises that our Community Protection Unit will investigate illegal collections and that we will take robust enforcement action against those who ignore the licensing process.”