Police are investigating an alleged fake fundraising scam where youngsters went door-to-door collecting money in the name of a youth football team.
People in Northfields, Ealing, said they had been visited by youths aged between 15 and 16 trying to raise funds for the football club.
Suspicions arose because the boys were teenagers, while West London ‘s Northfields FC only has junior sections up to the age of 12. The boys were accused of using Northfields United FC’s name to try and gain money for themselves behind the disguise of fundraising.
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(Image: Nick Pampoukidis/Unsplash)
The team say that they weren’t fundraising in recent weeks and never go door-to-door, however there have been multiple reports of two youths aged 15 to 16 using the team’s name to try and get money at residents’ doorsteps.
Christopher Rikelyrt, 41, said he had called police to make them aware of the apparent scam after the two boys knocked on his door in Boston Manor Road, at about 4pm on July 15.
He said: “Two teenage boys knocked on my door and asked whether I could give them some spare cash to help fundraise for their football team. I said I didn’t have any cash and then they made me aware of a cash machine round the corner.
“I thought this was very rude, especially as this was happening on my doorstep. That’s why I actually got suspicious, because of their rudeness. I thought in my head, if you were raising money for your football club, you would probably be nice and polite about it.
“Thinking about it again, it just didn’t sit right with me. They were apparently raising money for their football club. They said they were from Northfields FC, but the oldest team there is only up to 12 years old.
“I only found this out when I looked into it afterwards. They were wearing jeans and jackets on a hot day. You would have assumed they’d be wearing their team shirts or at least have a collection bucket. I’m sure they just wanted the money to put in their pockets.”
The police have made no arrests yet but local people continue to spread the word. Since Rikelyrt’s experience five more people have posted warnings about the apparent fraudulent pair on local Facebook sites.
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If you are approached on your doorstep for fundraising it is advised to check for identification and proof of the charity work they are doing. Also, be mindful of your older neighbours and people that might be vulnerable to these scams.
Northfields FC chairman, Chris Webb-Butler, said: “We haven’t been out fundraising. We would never do so by knocking on doors. We have heard these reports and this wasn’t us and we are sad that people are using our name to take money off people.
“We have our ways of fundraising and will continue to do these. If someone is using our name on doorsteps it is not us and will never be us.”
If you have any information on fraudulent crime, you can report it to the police on 101, or to Crimestoppers anonymously.