There is a tragic tale today about Cancer Relief UK. They are one of a myriad of smaller organisations who beaver away to provide the little – and sometimes not so little – extras which make the lives of cancer sufferers rather more bearable.
Founded by Tracy and Steve Coupe in 2008, they give grants for such necessities as wheelchairs, morphine pumps and other medical equipment – often requested directly by hospitals – along with donations. Their average donation is £500.
The way they raise funds is by buying used clothing from the public and sell it for £900-£1100 per ton. The tragic tale of how they have been conned is in the UK’s Telegraph today …
A couple of weeks ago – and out of the blue – Steve received an email from a company offering to pay the higher rate of £1200-£1400 per ton. Ever vigilant, Steve checked out the company and found it to be bona fide. A meeting was arranged and Steve travelled from his home in Chesterfield to the company’s head office in Maidstone. He arrived to discover “a beautiful stately home in wonderful grounds”. All seemed in order and he says that “the ladies we met were courteous and seemed knowledgeable about this sector – so we struck at deal of £1400 per ton.” With the current financial climate, Cancer Relief UK had found themselves struggling financially – but this arrangement would put them firmly back on the road.
I am sure you can guess what is coming next.
The first load was despatched, the invoice sent with the driver but no payment arrived. Steve told me “Payment will probably never arrive now. Despite numerous calls and text messages we have not been paid.” He has received one solitary text message from the company, explaining that the invoice was with the accountant and promising that a director of the company would be in touch. Steve left a voicemail message advising the company involved that if he heard nothing from them within the hour, he would contact the police and the Trading Standards Authority – no reply was forthcoming and the company took down its website.
Steve found the local lorry driver, who told him that he was met at a location near Colchester by an Eastern European man who directed him to another location in Rochester where more Eastern European men unloaded the lorry and paid the driver his fee in cash.
Steve had sent 6.5 tons of clothes and shoes with a value to Cancer Relief UK of £9,100 – money earmarked for grants.
The net effect is that this tiny charity has been completely scuppered by the con, the author of the article (Judith), does think that other charities will have also been targeted.
If you know of anyone who, like Cancer Relief UK, has been the subject of such a scam, please let her know – [email protected].
If you would like to help this charity, their contacts details are here:
Tel: +44 01246 236702 or 0845 095 1000