Lazy residents are using a charity shop as a “dumping ground” for their unwanted goods and costing the group about £5,000 a year, it was claimed.

A member of staff at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) furniture and electrical shop in Wallington, said people did not want to pay for the council to remove items when the charity was offering a free service.

But the worker claimed many residents lied to the charity about the quality of goods, forcing it to pay for the disposal of faulty items.

The source said: “It’s left to our drivers’ discretion to accept or decline furniture. We don’t just take anything – only things they think are suitable for sale.

"If people tell us their electrical items are in good working order we have to believe them. But often when items are tested we discover they don’t work.”

The staff member claimed the Wallington store alone spent £90 to £100 per week disposing of items such as fridges, freezers and TVs.

The source said: “Quite a lot of members of the public use us as a dumping ground. Sometimes items have to be disposed of as hazardous waste, which costs even more.

“People say, ‘Come and pick up our wonderful items’ – and they’re not wonderful. That happens a lot. The public do lie to try to make us want to pick up their items.

“They don’t want to phone the council, because the council will make them pay for it.

“We also get items fly-tipped at the front of our shop.”

Resident Pauline Harbour, 68, from Mulgrave Road, Sutton, said the charity refused to take her sofas, which were in good condition.

“Someone from the British Heart Foundation came to my house to look at them and said they couldn’t take them because they had a few scratches on the side.

“They would be ideal for young people setting up a first home. Instead they will have to go to landfill – it’s a terrible situation.”

A British Heart Foundation spokesman said: “I think the member of staff at the Wallington store is playing up the allegations.”