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Hungerford traders criticise street ‘chuggers’

A team wearing orange, high-visibility jackets bearing the Shelter charity logo has been approaching people in Hungerford town centre, trying to persuade them to donate via direct debit.
Management at The Gentleman’s Shop in Charnham Street used the social networking site Facebook to opine: “Very disappointed with West Berkshire Council allowing... professional charity muggers to ply their trade in Hungerford High Street.
“Simply not fair on the dignified members of the Royal British Legion
quietly collecting at the same time for this year's Poppy Appeal - show some respect for those that really need our support West Berks. Town councillors can only offer kind words and condolence as their hands are tied.”
The posting attracted 11 ‘ likes.’
West Berkshire Council spokesman Keith Ulyatt said: “The council does not licence these people. We do licence charities with cash collection boxes or tins, but the law says that, because these people are not collecting cash, they do not need a licence so we have no control over them.”
Lucinda Johnston, of Toys at No. 10 in the High Street, said: “They were standing right outside the shop. Quite a few customers mentioned it and said it nearly put them off - so we don’t know how many decided to cross the road an d keep walking.
“They were being a nuisance by going up to people who were looking in windows and following them when they walked off to get away. It went on from 9am until 4pm. It’s bad for business.”
Chairman of Hungerford Chamber of Commerce, Nigel Perrin, said: “From a personal perspective I think they should have had more consideration in their timing because the Royal British Legion was conducting its Poppy Appeal, which is dear to everyone’s heart.
“If it was just once or twice it might not be such an issue, but the fear is that others will come. If anyone has any complaints about this I would urge them to drop us a line, or to drop into the town council offices.”
The activities of paid street fundraisers have caused huge controversy in recent years since brigades of young people began to be employed to persuade passers by to sign up to direct debit payments, usually of at least £5 per month.

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