Scam targets Midland Air Ambulance charity

CALLOUS crooks have targeted the Midland Air Ambulance charity in a scam which is potentially costing it thousands of much-needed pounds.

Conmen pretending to represent the lifesaving service have delivered leaflets to homes in the region asking for donations.

But the Midland Air Ambulance service confirmed they had no connection and warned people not to be taken in.

Sam Conway, air ambulance spokesman, said they had come across the problem and had alerted trading standards.

He said that, for example: “We have had a couple of reports in Oldbury.

“People, who live in a B68 postcode, have come forward to say they have received these leaflets and have been reported to us straight away. The website address on these leaflets leads people to a page that clearly states that it is a scam and the phone number on there is also not in use.

“We have made contact with the police about this and we are also in discussion with Trading Standards.”

Helen Steven, Midlands Air Ambulance Charity Communications Manager, said: “We do hear of people posing as Midlands Air Ambulance Charity representatives”.

The Air Ambulance Service has warned its supporters to be aware of rogue collectors. Chief executive Andy Williamson said: “Christmas donations of money and clothing are crucial to our service and yet we now have to worry about criminals distributing bogus bags to fool people into thinking they are giving to us when they are not.”

The company originally responsible for distributing leaflets in Edgbaston in 2010was caught over two years ago and subsequently prosecuted. These leaflets appear to be in circulation once again, with reports of deliveries to addresses throughout England.

The Air Ambulance Service press officer, said: “We have also had reports of such activity in South London and in East Anglia, so it would appear to be a nationwide issue.”

According to the annual fraud indicator released by the National Fraud Authority, it is estimated that charities lose 1.7 per cent of their annual income to fraud. This equates to lost income of £1.1 billion during 2010/11.