Epsom residents are becoming increasingly concerned that bogus charities selling donated clothes are taking money away from genuine causes.

Peter Mills, of River Way in Ewell, contacted the Epsom Guardian after receiving leaflets from various fake companies.

He said: "We get different leaflets through the door every week. All the charities supply their own bags but these ones rub your face in it by asking to put the things in your own plastic bags and attach their leaflets to it. They're obviously making money out of it. Some people will be getting these and falling for them, the real charities could be losing out."

The Association of Charity Shops advertises a strict code of conduct for collecting goods from residential homes and say that charities involved in doorstep collections should be licensed by the council and provide their own bags or containers with a charity number.

A spokesman said: "Bogus collectors will try to exploit people's generosity. If possible, members of the public should take donations directly to a local charity shop. But, if you're leaving donations out for collection, please only do so for charities you recognise.

"Legitimate collection bags will show a charity's registered charity number and will declare it as such. People should be aware of bags which seem to be from a charity but only show a registered number' or registration' - it's probably not a charity."

A spokeswoman for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council confirmed that companies calling themselves Kkarolinas Ltd or Polotex Ltd were not registered as charities.

She said: "The council advises residents to carefully check the details of any group asking for donations of items for charities.

"There are many worthy and important charities that desperately need help, so we don't want people to stop giving. It is a great shame that some people take advantage of others' generosity. Action will be taken against anyone purporting to be a charity and taking goods without a licence."