Controls possible for Shrewsbury 'chuggers'

Council leaders are looking at ways to control the number of street fundraisers in Shrewsbury following complaints.

Last year, police officers raised concerns about the "aggressive" tactics used by some "chuggers" who ask people to make regular donations to charities.

They said Pride Hill in Shrewsbury had become a particular hot-spot.

Shropshire Council said it was now talking to Shrewsbury Town Council and West Mercia Police about the issue.

It said the three bodies were working with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to limit charities to the number of fundraisers they can have, which locations they can go to and how often they can collect.

A council spokesperson said the discussions were at an "early stage" but hoped they could agree some guidelines by the end of the year.

Police have criticised the "aggressive" tactics used by some street fundraisers operating in Shropshire.

Pride Hill in Shrewsbury has reportedly become a hot-spot for collectors, sometimes referred to as "chuggers" or "charity muggers", who ask people to make a regular donation to charity.

Sgt Clare Greenaway said the collectors could have a negative impact on shoppers and businesses.

The Institute of Fundraising said it wanted to work with the county council to manage sites in the town centre.

Ms Greenaway, of West Mercia Police, said direct debit collectors needed to act in "an appropriate manner".

Council 'powerless'

"People have been known to chase general members of the public down the street," she said.

The Institute of Fundraising's Simon Morrison said fundraisers worked on commission.

"Street fundraising is one of the better ways in terms of the return on the investment and the amount of money that goes straight to a charity," he said.

"We set the regulations that face-to-face fundraisers actually operate under and certainly chasing you down the street is something they're not supposed to do."

Carol Foster, from Shropshire Council, said the authority was powerless to control the collectors because they operated "outside of the street collection legislation".

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