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  1. ITV Report

Charities could face sanctions for aggressive fundraising, regulator warns

Charities could face criminal sanctions for bullying the public into giving money, their regulator has warned.

Fines could be brought in as part of the first statutory regime for fund raising, amid concerns about the way some charities collect their money.

It follows the suicide of Britain's longest-serving Poppy seller Olive Cooke who reportedly received hundreds of so-called "begging letters" every month.

Olive Cooke dedicated 76 years of her life to selling poppies Credit: ITV News

Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross told The Times that if charities failed to address abuses, his organisation was willing to regulate street "chuggers", door-to-door collectors, call centres and direct mail appeals.

The plethora of stories of people being deluged by mailings and harassed by endless telephone calls on behalf of charities is intolerable.

– Charity Commission chairman William Shawcros

The Government has commissioned a review by Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary organisations into the regulation of charities.

Mr Shawcross said: "If he concludes that self-regulation by charities cannot work, then government would have to consider whether the Charity Commission should regulate fund raising."

Under the new regulations, charities and the fund raisers they employ would be banned from high-pressure tactics, repeatedly targeting people and making misleading claims.

Earlier this month, David Cameron said the "unacceptable" actions of aggressive fundraisers and the organisations employing them was damaging the reputation of the entire charity sector.