MOTORISTS have been warned not to give money to unlicensed charity collectors stopping traffic in the Black Country.

People dressed in superhero and monkey costumes have been seen stopping traffic at Oldbury's Birchley Island, the junction of Dudley Port and Sedgley Road East in Tipton and the Burnt Tree junction on the border with Dudley, claiming to be collecting for Children In Need.

Sandwell Council has said they do not have a street permit to collect money for charity in Sandwell or in Dudley.

The council's trading standards officers are now monitoring the junctions and West Midlands Police have been informed.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell's cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “The issue with unlicensed charity collectors is you have no idea where the money is going.

“If you are a genuine charity collector, you must get a permit from the council to operate in Sandwell.

“We have not issued any charity collection permits for Children In Need in Sandwell. 

“Of course, we don’t want to discourage people from donating to this wonderful charity but we need to protect the public.

"The best thing to do is to donate directly to Children in Need online or over the phone, or to hold your own fundraising event.”

Any legitimate Children in Need collectors collecting on the street will have a permit, which anyone donating should ask to see before handing money over.

The permit is free to apply for from Sandwell Council. Permit holders must provide the council with an audited account of what they have collected within one month.

The Children in Need website states: "We don't encourage fundraisers to collect money door-to-door, in the street or any other public place and are unable to supply tins or buckets.

"Public collections undertaken for, or on behalf of, charities in public places are regulated by law and require a licence from the relevant authorities.

"We would recommend that you arrange a fundraising event rather than a collection."