The Salvation Army has pleaded with the public to stop fly-tipping outside closed clothing banks and charity shops during the pandemic as it costs the charity thousands of pounds to remove them.
The Salvation Army has around 8,000 clothing banks and 250 charity shops across the UK - all of which have had to close due to the lockdown, something which has had a serious impact on the church and charity's income.
Despite a public request made by the charity earlier this month for people to hold on to contributions, many of its locations are still being overwhelmed with donations which are attracting vermin and becoming a health hazard.
Director of the Clothing Collection Division for the Salvation Army Trading Company, Tony Hosking, told Premier the charity has had to use funds that would otherwise be spent on services for the vulnerable to safely dispose of the dumped donations.
"Unfortunately, with 98 per cent of household waste and recycling centres currently closed around the country, fly-tipping has grown in recent weeks, to such an extent that now we've had to mobilise our own teams to clean up the worst effected sites," he said.
Following the closure of its branches, 96 per cent of the charity's staff were placed on furlough. Hosking explains that the charity has now had to bring staff members back to create up to 25 emergency clean-up teams to visit the worst affected sites in the coming days.
"A lot of the donations will unfortunately have to go straight to landfill and our initial estimate of the costs for just these first two weeks will be £100,000."
The Salvation Army claims to lose £7 for every carrier bag of dumped clothing which ends up being taken to landfill from the recycling sites.
Hosking had this message for those wishing to make donations: "We are always so grateful for people's donations which raise vital cash to provide support like a hot meal for a rough sleeper or essentials for a desperate family needing to use a food bank - but we are unable to empty clothing banks during the lockdown.
"Please help your unwanted clothing do more good and keep items out of landfill by holding onto them until after restrictions have lifted and we are able to empty clothing banks."