Charity muggers - Chuggers - banned from Burnley town centre

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CHARITY collectors have been banned from Burnley town centre five days a week after complaints from visitors and traders.

Collectors, dubbed “chuggers” or “charity muggers” because of their aggressive tactics, have been limited to operating in town on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Burnley Council has taken the step because shoppers were being put off from visiting the town centre but some have called for a complete ban.

Coun. Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Council, said: “Our first concern has been for shoppers and others using the town centre. We know a number of shoppers had started to avoid parts of St James’ Street, having been repeatedly approached by charity collectors operating in the area in the past.

“The council has proactively tackled this issue and come to this new agreement which will go a long way to deal with those issues.

“We’ve tried to find a balance between allowing charities to raise cash for worthy causes while at the same time preventing collectors being seen as a nuisance.”

The agreement means there will be a maximum of two collectors operating in any one area and they will be required to wear formal ID badges and follow a code of conduct.

But Peter Quinn, the chairman of Burnley-based volunteer group Charity Aid, called for a total ban.

He said: “It is dishonest and parasitic. They work for a profit-making company not directly for the charity. They are not telling you that they keep the first £112 from everything they collect. Why don’t they tell people this? Because no-one would give money via a chugger if they knew the truth.”

Dr Toby Ganley, head of policy at the Public Fund Raising Association, said: “This agreement with Burnley balances the duty of charities, on behalf of their beneficiaries, to ask people for their support, with the rights of the public not to be put under undue pressure to give.”