KIND-HEARTED people are being urged not to fall foul of a doorstep charity scam.

A number of charity collection bags were delivered to homes in Shenfield Road in Woodford Green earlier this week.

The white bags claim to be from a charity called Children's Support Society, and display the registered charity number 526305.

However the Charity Commission confirmed the bags were bogus, and that the registered number belonged to a now defunct charity – called 'Sir Nicholas Shireburn for Schoolmaster' – which ceased to exist in July 2009.

Resident Peter Jeffrey, 73, alerted the Guardian to the scam. He said: “I was suspicious of the bag so I got in touch with the Charity Commission, who confirmed with me that is was bogus.

“It's not fair because these people are going to take the stuff and sell it at a car boot sale or whatever, and it's taking the bread from the mouths of the people who needs it most.”

In recent months a number of newspapers and local websites in Hertfordshire have reported identical bags being delivered to homes, with warnings to people not to leave items out for collection.

Mr Jeffrey added: “I had a look on the internet and there have been reports of it happening elsewhere.

“People just need to be aware that anything they leave is not going to go where it is intended.”

Neighbour Barry Land, 59, said: “I had one of the bags through the door but I threw it away. I just wasn't convinced that it was a genuine charity collection.

“I suppose it's only household stuff and clothing they want, but if you're giving it to them then it's not going where it needs to go, to a real charity.”

Laura Palmer, 34, said: “I'd already sorted some things out to put in it. We've just got back from holiday and I put some kids clothes in there.

“We normally go up to a charity shop up the road but it was just easier. I won't be putting anything out on the doorstep again.”

A spokeswoman for Redbridge Council said: “Redbridge Trading Standards does send out warning about bogus charity collectors.

“Genuine charities will be registered with the Charities Commission and their website allows you to search the list of registered bona fide charities.

“All collectors should wear identification badges, if they are not clearly visible always ask to see identification.

“Most bona fide charities will have a website or be listed in the telephone book or via one of the directory enquiry services available. Never use a number provided by the collector themselves.”

Have you received one of these bags? Are you suspicious of any charity collection bags or leaflets you have received? Contact Guardian reporter James Ranger on 07795 316 211 or email