Fake charity gang from Gdansk make a fortune ripping off big-hearted Scots

March 11, 2007 -- Marion Scott - A GANG of Polish conmen preying on kind Scots are being probed over a bogus charity.

The crooks - led by wealthy brothers Mateuz and Jaeck Sramke - have put leaflets in thousands of homes using the names Scottish Help For The World and Scottish Help For Poor People.

Families left bags of clothing, toys, household goods and prams for collection in the belief they were helping poor people in Poland and Eastern Europe.

But the Sunday Mail can reveal the Polish charity number and the customs numbers used on their leaflets are fake.

And an employee of the Sramkes told our investigators the goods are sold to Polish second-hand shops at huge profit.

The brothers are being probed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and officials in Poland are investigating.

The Sramkes claim they are giving the goods to a Polish charity called Dewajtis, which means "oak tree".

But last night Polish Consul General Aleksander Dietkow said: "This charity does not exist in Poland. These leaflets do not conform to any of the charity laws in Scotland or my own country.

"Our Minister of the Interior regulates charities and the stamp being used on these leaflets is bogus, as are the numbers.

"Our country has a great deal of goodwill in Scotland and I'm very angry these people have blackened that."

Goods are collected and shipped from Scotland twice a week.

The Sramkes, who live a few miles from the Polish city of Gdansk, have lucrative business interests including a hotel and a second-hand clothes firm, Domplast, which sell items by the ton.

A website for the socalled charity shows a photo of donated goods piled up at their Polish HQ. A Domplast worker told our investigators: "Each container truck carries four tonnes of goods. If the clothes are good quality, we get almost £6 per kilo.

"The stuffwe get from Scotland is always the highest quality. We sell these clothes to wholesalers and second-hand shops."

Mateuz, 19, and Jaeck, 17, manage up to 20 workers based in a tiny flat in Govanhill, Glasgow.

They rent five containers at a warehouse on the south side of the city but have not been seen for days.

Alex McLeod, who manages the depot at Carmichael Street, Ibrox, said: "They've been renting space here for at least seven months and two truckloads of stuff is taken out every week headed for Poland.

"I'm not too happy about what they're doing because people think they're giving to a charity. They come in and out at night and it's difficult to get a word with them."

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator say they have been involved in a six-month investigation into the gang.

They have issued legal notices against them and if they continue to break the rules, they face a fine of £3500 and a prison sentence of up to three months.

David Thomson, head of South Ayrshire Trading Standards, said: "Our officers have been investigating this so-called charity for some time following complaints by local residents."

Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe said: "I want to know how this gang have been able to operate under the noses of the authorities for so long."

The Sramkes did not respond to messages left by the Sunday Mail at their bases in Glasgow and Poland.

'This charity does not exist'

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