Lincoln business group wants controls on 'chuggers'

A Lincoln business group is calling for more restrictions on charity street fundraisers in the city centre.

Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG) said more regulations were needed to control the number of "charity muggers" or "chuggers".

BIG spokesman Mick Lake said: "Sometimes walking down the high street is a bit like running the gauntlet."

Marketing expert Peter Maple said most people were tolerant of fundraisers as long as they were polite.

'Persistent' bother

Mr Maple, a marketing lecturer at South Bank University in London, said: "People have a right to say 'no' but equally fundraisers have a duty on behalf of the charity to ask for money."

But Mr Lake said: "It is a nuisance - it is the 'persistently being bothered' factor."

He added: "It is basically unregulated... because these people are not actually collecting cash and are asking for your bank details for a direct debit, they are currently outside the scope of the law."

Newcastle City Council is considering a bylaw that would restrict fundraising in the city, while other local councils have signed an agreement with the Public Funding Regulatory Association to limit the numbers of days that fundraisers can collect each week.

Mr Maple said: "Street canvassers know they have to make eye contact and have an affinity with the person and have a polite conversation or they are not going to get them to sign a direct debit."

Adam, a fundraiser for the housing charity Framework, told BBC News: "I am very polite with people. We are not here to pressure people.

"We have to book a site in advance with the council - which is done by my boss - and we stay away from market stalls and small businesses as we do not want to infringe on their areas."

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