Burnley’s blitz on ‘charity muggers’ is copied

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BURNLEY’S tough stance on “aggressive” charity collectors in the town centre is being copied by a Northamptonshire council.

The town was among the first in the country to impose a strict ban on collectors operating in the main shopping centre after dozens of complaints from visitors and traders.

Burnley Borough Council bosses moved to limit charity fund-raisers, known as “charity muggers” or “chuggers”, from St James’ Street to just two days a week.

Now Northampton Borough Council chiefs hope to follow Burnley’s lead and launch a crackdown on town centre collectors.

The authority’s leader Coun. David Mackintosh stated his intentions to bring in a similar ban to Burnley to stop shoppers feeling “intimidated and pressurised” by chuggers.

Charity collection days were limited to just Tuesdays and Thursdays in Burnley after it was felt shoppers were being driven away from the centre.

Burnley’s council leader Charlie Briggs believes the ban has improved the atmosphere in the town. He said: “It’s going very well. Since we made the decision, a lot of people have actually praised me and said it was a good thing we did.

“Everybody seems to be a lot happier while they’re in the town than they were in the past. We didn’t want to give people reasons not to come into the town and I was hearing time after time that people were getting fed up with the number of collectors there were.

“So I think our decision has made the town a lot more pleasant place to be. On the days when they’re not here collecting, it’s tremendous.”

The leader of the Burnley Chamber of Trade, Brian Hobbs, also believed a restriction on chuggers could work well in Northampton.

He said: “In Burnley, we noticed that shoppers were beginning to avoid certain areas of the town, and that’s bad for business.

“So I think restricting them to working two days a week was a good move.

“I spend quite a lot of time out on the high street and there’s definitely a more relaxed feeling among shoppers and people visiting the town.