Charities could have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations after 750 clothing banks were removed from car parks. Recycling companies and charities which operates the banks says up to 20 a week have gone missing in the last 12 months.
The Textile Recycling Association says some of the banks have been resprayed and branded with a different charity logo and placed at sites without permission. The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into one charity.
There are around 15 thousand textile banks throughout the UK often placed at supermarket carparks and recycling sites. More than 300,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles are collected each year. Some of the banks are run by charities themselves such as The Salvation Army, Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation, but others are operated by private recycling companies who give a donation to their chosen charities - on average £250 for every tonne of clothes collected. Around £75m was given to charities and local authorities last year.
The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) - which represents the sector - says clothing banks have been taken from across England - including the North West, the Midlands and Eastern England. It says charities receive on average £70 a week from each bank and because it can take between six to eight weeks to replace a bank, it is feared charities could have lost more than a third of a million pounds in donations. In some cases, the recycling companies aren't replacing the banks so the charities will lose out permanently.
Housing Shortage for Disabled
It's estimated that 1.8 million disabled people are struggling to find accessible housing in the UK. 5 live Investigates has seen research which reveals the average wait in England could be more than 12 years -and that's if nobody else joins the waiting list. The programme hears from Paul Perry - a 26-year-old man who's been trapped in hospital for 18 months. And a man in his 50's with spinal injuries who says he's a prisoner in his own bedroom in an old people's home which isn't equipped to deal with his needs.
Abuse in Charity Shops
Scores of charity shop workers have been investigated for sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace in the last 12 months, according to figures obtained by 5 live Investigates. The programme has also learned that convicted paedophiles have been allowed to work in shops because DBS checks haven't been done. The CEO of the organisation Whistleblowers UK says the charity industry is a magnet for people who are predatory. 'The charities sector...is seen as a nice place to be -lots of people who work there are volunteers doing good work. It's almost as if regulation for them is deemed unnecessary because of course everybody who works there would be nice. And yet those are the areas that attract people who are predatory. All of the evidence supports this. We've heard about inappropriate relationships between members of staff, between staff and volunteers and also volunteers raising concerns about the way staff have interacted with vulnerable children and teenagers.'.
5 live Investigates is in the London borough of Newham - dubbed the acid attack capital of Britain. Shopkeepers there have signed up to a voluntary code of practise banning the sale of corrosive substances to under 21's - but are they as good as their word? The programme follows a 14-year-old as she attempts to buy corrosive liquids from stores in the area. Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales and local Labour MP Stephen Timms have called on the government to crackdown on sales. The programme also has new FOI figures which reveal a three-fold rise in attacks across England and Wales between 2013 and the end of 2017. Acid attack survivors Adele Bellis and Jabed Hussain also reveal the long term physical and emotional effects.
The shortfall of new affordable homes in England will soon be equivalent to a city the size of Leeds according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. They tell 5 live Investigates that supply has fallen short of demand by 30,000 every year since 2011 and the cumulative shortfall could reach 335,000 by the end of this parliament. The government says it's investing £9bn in the sector. Married parents of three Dawn and Adrian, from Milton Keynes, tell 5 live Investigates their family's health has suffered since being forced into temporary accommodation while they wait for suitable social housing to become available.
"Both of us have had issues with mental health and ability to cope," said Dawn, who asked that their surnames not be published.
"It's all come to a head, the culmination of that means Adrian's pretty much had a breakdown for the last couple of months and been signed off work," she said.
Adrian, who like Dawn works full-time, said not being able to afford a home meant that "being a proud man, at the end of the day, I took a lot of stick to myself. I beat myself up inside.
"Because when you've got a wife and three children, I felt a failure," he said.