Richmond Council has warned people not to dump unwanted goods outside charity shops because they could be prosecuted for fly-tipping and fined.
It comes after people began leaving items outside shops which have had to close until further notice due to coronavirus.
By treating the dumping as fly tipping, it means people could face fines from the Council and if it were to progress to court, those fines could be as high as £2,500.
The Council is asking people to store the unwanted items in their home until shops are ready to re-open, use one of the on-street clothes recycling banks, apply for a TRAID home collection or take the clothes to the Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Townmead Road to be passed on.
Residents who wish to report fly-tipping, can do it online here.
Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, said:
“It is disappointing to see the rise in unwanted items being dumped outside closed charity shops.
“In normal circumstances these shops would welcome donations. But these are not normal circumstances.
“Many of our charity shops are shut. Anything that is left outside will be treated as fly-tipping and that leaves the person dumping the material open to a fine. There is no excuse.
“Our Council officers do remove the donations, which have often been damaged by the weather or vandals, and then they are no good to anyone.
“I appreciate many people are having a clear-out, but please do the right thing and look for an alternative.”
Townmead Road Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Kew has a number of textile recycling banks. We can accept pairs of shoes, clothes, hats, belts, towels, bed sheets and curtains that are clean and in good condition. These items are re-used in developing countries. Please place items in a plastic bag to help keep them clean.
To book an appointment for Townmead, please go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/townmead_road
To book a TRAID home collection, go to: www.traid.org.uk/clothes-donations/book-a-collection
– from a Richmond Council press release - 19 August 2020