Top stuff ends in charity hoax

STEWART Bethell thought he was the tops when it came to raising money for charity, until he found out he had been hoaxed by a bogus organisation.His bid to raise money to buy wheelchairs for youngsters culminated in the scout leader hoarding more than a tonne of plastic bottle tops.

STEWART Bethell thought he was the tops when it came to raising money for charity, until he found out he had been hoaxed by a bogus organisation.

His bid to raise money to buy wheelchairs for youngsters culminated in the scout leader hoarding more than a tonne of plastic bottle tops.

Scouter-in-charge, Mr Bethell took over the fundraiser from a former leader at the 24th Ipswich Scout Group more than a year ago. In an effort to reach the ten tonne target set by the charity, encouraged his employers the Port of Felixstowe to get involved.

And get involved they did - helping Mr Bethell of Sandpiper Road, Ipswich to fill his rented garage to the brim. At the moment he is paying £7.20 to rent it off the council and cannot even use it.


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But now it seems the charity is non-existent and Mr Bethell is stuck with the bottle tops, unless someone can step in and help.

Mr Bethell said the charity is spread through word of mouth and no-one has ever had a name for the group or contact details.

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He added: “A charity request by word of mouth is always a lot stronger than a letter coming through the post.”

He is reluctant to simply throw the bottle tops away as people have collected them in good faith and he is hoping to find a way to raise money for a bona fide charity with them.

He said: “It makes me feel really annoyed.

“I constantly collect for charities and am doing the Three Peaks Challenge for the Special Care Baby Unit this year.

“The port workers are probably the main collectors of the bottle tops and a lot of people have put a lot of effort in.

“One guy who lives on the opposite side of town often collects five or six bags and brings them over to me.”

A spokesman for Suffolk's Trading Standards said that although there had not been any complaints from other people in Suffolk about the charity, it had been highlighted in other parts of the country as a scam.

n. Have you been the victim of a charity scam, or have you been busy collecting bottle tops of Mr Bethell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

Each week the average family in a developed country gets through four glass bottles or jars, 13 cans, three plastic bottles and five kilos of paper.

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