GENEROUS people are still leaving charity bags out for a commercial business, believing the funds go to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

The ‘Air Ambulance Service’ (AAS) leaflets carry a picture of a yellow and black helicopter, like that used by the local charity.

But the Oxfordshire-based AAS is a private company using paid workers rather than volunteers.

Valerie More, of Lytchett Matravers, says all her neighbours donated goods.

“They put a mammoth amount of the bags out,” she said. “A lot of retired people around here didn’t realise.”

The bags also advertise a call or text service for a membership card, costing £5 plus standard network charges.

She was so concerned that she persuaded her neighbours to let her take their charity bags to the PDSA instead.

“We know where the money goes then,” she said.

The bags have also been distributed throughout Colehill.

Parish Council chairman Cllr KD Johnson, said he was “incensed”.

“It’s disgusting that this private company are taking advantage of the service’s name, which people are inclined to give to,” he said.

“People ought to be aware.”

Inspector Mike Darkin said: “Police are not investigating these incidents as a crime but are advising members of the public to contact trading standards at their local council if they have concerns.”

The company has said in a previous statement: “AAS are a free membership organisation. We provide air and ground ambulance services through a network of licensed operators so as to ensure that we have national coverage for people caught in difficult medical circumstances.

“Our funds are generated in many ways, including the collection of clothing to support our services.

“For full information see our website”