CONMEN who fleeced the public and cheated a lifesaving charity out of donations with a raffle scam at Bakewell Show have been slammed as ‘disgraceful’.
And visitors to other local events are being warned to be vigilant after the fraud was discovered.
The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) sent out the alert after learning that a group of people wearing hi-visibility jackets were selling raffle tickets at Bakewell Show, falsely claiming that the proceeds would go to charity.
TAAS fundraising manger, David Reeves, said: “Unfortunately there are some people who attempt to make money by impersonating a charity.
“We can confirm that we were not holding a raffle at the Bakewell Show and the raffle tickets that were sold were fraudulent.”
The charity – which relies on generous public donations to finance the work it does – wants to make the public aware that all their staff have marked uniforms and will show ID badges if requested.
Betty Foster, who was volunteering for the Air Ambulance Service during Bakewell Show, said: “Two of us stood at our stall for 19 hours and to know that people have cheated us and the public is absolutely disgraceful.”
The charity only realised that scammers had been selling fake tickets when visitors started approaching the Air Ambulance Service stall for results.
Betty said: “On Sunday, a lady came up to me at 4.30pm for the raffle results and I informed her we hadn’t held one.
“As soon as we realised that people had been ripped-off we put messages out on the tannoy, but I think that by then it was too late.”
As the Dales will soon be playing host to Chatsworth Country Fair and Ashbourne Show, police and event organisers are working together to ensure that there is not a repeat scam.
Visitors will be warned about potential fraudsters and repeat messages will be put across the tannoys alerting people to be cautious.
Linda Robbins, Bakewell Show Organiser, said: “This is a timely warning for people going to these events – if there’s anybody walking round with raffle tickets give them a wide birth.”
Despite the scam, the Air Ambulance Service raised over £900, thanks to public donations at Bakewell Show.
Betty Foster said: “I think these people will have made a killing at Bakewell Show and had it not been for them, we would have raised even more money.”