Stop the ‘chuggers’!

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FED-UP Scarborough shoppers have called for charity collectors – known as ‘chuggers’ – to be booted out of the town centre.

It comes after a Freedom of Information request to Scarborough Borough Council by the Evening News which revealed that disillusioned residents have complained to the authority over the ‘chuggers’, who have become a regular fixture in Westborough and its adjacent streets.

Shoppers in Scarborough town centre yesterday called for action against the “annoying” charity workers.

Twenty-five--year-old Antony Davison supports the idea of a town centre ban. The process operator from Barrowcliff said: “They can be really annoying.

“If you’re out shopping in town and you see one of them, you have to walk around them to get out of their way, and you don’t really want that when you’re out.

“I don’t think they should ban them completely, but they could possibly look at taking them away from the town centre.”

The problem of ‘chuggers’ has become an issue for towns and cities across the country.

Manasa Shanker has family in Scarborough, but currently lives in London. The 19-year-old said the problem in the capital is so bad that she has been forced to take extreme measures to avoid being stopped.

She said: “I find them annoying, and they’re over the top. If they come up to me I have to tell them that I’m not old enough to give money to charity so they leave me alone. I’ve never stopped for them.”

Students Caitlin Burton, 21, and Michaela Goddard, 22, were out shopping, and they both said that they’d been approached by the charity workers several times in the past.

Michaela Goddard, from Cayton, said she felt their methods left the door open for con artists to scam money out of kind-hearted shoppers.

She said: “Asking you for money in the street is a bit cheeky.

“They shouldn’t be able to ask for your card details, as you just don’t know who you are giving your money to.

“Anybody could put on a charity jacket and say they’re raising money.”

She also felt a town centre ban might be appropriate, and her friend, Caitlin Burton, from Scarborough, added: “They should have a stall rather than walk up and down the street.”

A spokesperson for Scarborough Borough Council said that measures are in place to prevent the public from being duped, saying that the council has a list of all the different charities that collect in the town centre.

Nick Taylor, Scarborough Borough Council’s Investment Manager, added: “The council manages these ‘professional fundraisers’ and monitors their presence within the town centre.

“Any complaints made by members of the public get referred back to the fundraising companies and these have always been dealt with satisfactorily by all parties.”

In many cases, the collectors don’t work directly for the charity.

They are agency reps, hired by the charity to collect on their behalf.

However, with the economic downturn hitting charities in the pocket, charity chiefs have previously defended their use of ‘chuggers’, saying that they play an important role in keeping them afloat.

However, 21-year-old Anja Raison believes there’s an easier way of helping recession-hit charities.

The supermarket worker from Eastfield said: “People are better off just giving money straight to the charity.”