Sunday, April 08, 2007


CHANCERS preying on big-hearted Scots could face a fraud trial.

Charity regulators have sent a report on Scottish Help For The World to the Crown Office.

It follows a Sunday Mail investigation which revealed that items collected in Scotland were being sold for as much as £50,000 a week in Poland.

The £2.5million-a-year operation is fronted by the wealthy Sramke brothers, Mateus, 19, and Jaeck, 17, who live outside Gdansk and could now be the subject of arrest warrants.

Our probe revealed leaflets featuring the Sramkes' claim that they are helping a Polishbased charity contained fake charity numbers.

Dozens of Eastern European workers have been collecting goods for the Dewajtis organisation from homes across Scotland, operating from a base in Glasgow. But instead of giving the goods they collect to desperate families, at least two container loads are being shipped out every week and sold through the Sramkes' second-hand clothing business.

Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe said: "I'm incandescent with rage that this gang have been allowed to operate in Scotland for almost a year with virtually no action from the authorities.

"Scotland has been a magnet for far too long for charity scams and the authorities must do everything in their power to ensure that does not continue."

A letter to Donohoe from Thomas Thornburn, the senior investigations officer at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, said: "The use of a fictitious reference number may be fraud." The Sramke family, who refuse to speak to the Mail, have been ordered by the OSCR to stop posing as a charity.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: "This is a despicable scam, which takes advantage of people's generosity and damages the name of the Polish people."