Generous residents are being warned against giving money to unlicensed charity collectors in the run up to Sport Relief.

Sandwell Council’s licensing team is advising people not to give to collectors stopping vehicles at traffic lights.

Junctions around the borough will be monitored in the coming weeks. The warning comes after unlicensed collectors dressed in superhero and monkey costumes stopped drivers at junctions across Sandwell in November, claiming to be collecting for Children In Need.

Anyone collecting money for charity on the street in Sandwell must have a street collection permit.

The fine for being caught without one is £200 - plus possible police action.

Registered collectors are also not allowed to collect at traffic junctions – they must be stationary and not collect anywhere that causes danger to themselves or the public. Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said: “We do not want to stop anyone collecting, but we do want to make sure that charities receive all of the money that is collected on their behalf. “A street collection permit is free, all it takes is a few minutes to complete and submit an application to the licensing team. “If you do see someone collecting and they don’t have a street collection permit, or they’re not following the rules on where they can stand and having sealed buckets, be sensible and make your donation to the charity direct.”

Licensed charity collectors must:

• be aged 16 or over

• not obstruct the public or cause them danger

• stand 25 metres apart from each other and remain stationary

• use sealed tins or buckets that clearly display the name of the charity.

To apply for a free street collection licence, to report a concern that a street collector is not genuine, or for any other questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To donate directly to Sport Relief, go to