People donating items to Daventry’s Air Ambulance Service shop are being asked not to leave them at the back of the shop without first speaking to staff.
The request follows several instances of damaged or stained furniture and other items with no resale value being dumped at the back of the High Street store overnight.
Far from helping the charity, donations such as this actually cost the Air Ambulance Service much-needed funds in the form of disposal costs.
Daventry District Council is working with the charity to stop the issue and has put in place security measures to help prevent and detect the dumping of unwanted furniture and other materials at the rear of their premises.
Anyone wishing to donate is instead asked to visit the shop first so that staff can assess the items.
In the case of furniture or other large items, the charity is happy to visit homes to make an assessment and collect them if suitable.
The council is warning people that any items left outside the store without the knowledge of shop staff will be treated as fly-tipping, which can result in a fixed penalty fine of £400 or worse, depending on the scale of the problem.
The Air Ambulance Service has two shops in Daventry – in High Street and Foundry Walk – which help the charity raise vital funds to operate the national Children’s Air Ambulance, as well as the local air ambulance services for Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Retail area manager for Air Ambulance Service Home Stores June Green said: “We are very grateful to the many generous people who donate wonderful items to our Daventry shops, helping us to fund our lifesaving service.
“Unfortunately we sometimes get items left outside the High Street shop overnight that are badly stained or damaged and that we cannot sell. While some of these items may have been left with the best intentions, it costs us valuable time and money to properly dispose of them.
“We do not want to discourage donations, but we would ask people to please consider the suitability of the items they are thinking of donating and make sure they speak to someone in the store first, so that we can process it properly.”
Cllr Richard Auger, environmental health and housing portfolio holder on Daventry District Council, said: “The Air Ambulance Service is a wonderful charity which saves lives across our region every day.
“While we do not wish to deter people from making charitable donations to our local charities, leaving items at the back of their store is not the way to do it.
“This practice is taking much needed cash away from saving lives and spending it on disposing of unwanted and worthless donations.
“This practice has become such a problem that the Council have decided to warn people that any materials left at the rear of the shop without staff being given an opportunity to make an assessment, will be treated as fly-tipping.
“Any evidence gathered from these items will be provided to our enforcement officer so the appropriate action can be taken.”
People who need to dispose of large items are also reminded of the council’s bulky waste collection service, which costs £16.38 for up to three items, or £32.76 for six.
People can find out more at www.daventrydc.gov.uk/recycling.