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Probe into fake leaflets asking for Air Ambulance donations

Date: 07-Jun-2010

The leaflets also ask neighbours to leave their donations in large plastic bags to be collected from the roadside from 8am on Friday.

There is also an invitation to gain an air ambulance service membership card but it requires people to send their name, address, postcode, by calling the telephone number which is printed on the leaflet.

People can also text the word AIR with their personal details at a cost of £5 plus network fee.

But the leaflet has nothing to do with the local Air Ambulance.

Warwickshire Trading Standards are investigating the issue after it received complaints from residents in Nuneaton and Leamington.

Air ambulance charities across the country have been notified to warn potential victims of the scam.

A Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance spokeswoman said: "The leaflet has absolutely nothing to do with our charity or our sister service Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance and any donations made to this scam company will not go towards your local air ambulance service.

The leaflet is very misleading and could easily lead people into thinking they are supporting our vital life saving service.

As a registered charity we rely on voluntary income to keep us flying and saving lives and it is upsetting that this company seems to be confusing people over who they are supporting.

I would therefore urge supporters to look for our registered charity number, 1098874, when making a donation, or if you are unsure please do call a member of the air ambulance team on 0845 4130 999.

I would like to ask people to ensure they carry on donating clothing through our branded collection bags and make sure that they support Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance Service.

Each year we need to raise over £1.5 million to continue flying life saving missions and this money is raised through fundraising events, vital donations and fundraising schemes such as our clothing collection bags."

A Warwickshire Trading Standards spokesman said: "We do receive reports most months about door to door 'charity' collections, typically in instances where the organisation is a business collecting clothing to sell for profit but the flyer or bag may use images or text which could give the impression that the collector is acting on behalf of a charity."

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