BOGUS charity collectors have been swindling business owners across Renfrew.

Two girls, believed to be in their teens, visited a number of shops and pretended to be collecting donations for the Alzheimer Scotland charity.

Staff at the Alzheimer Scotland shop in the town’s Hairst Street were horrified when they found out about the con.

And they have issued a warning for people to be on the lookout for the heartless scammers.

Shop manager Liz Allison said: “These girls were not collecting for our charity, despite what they were telling people.

“What’s really shocking is how young these girls are - probably between 16 and 18 years old.”

The bogus collectors claimed to have signed up for a sponsored walk in Glasgow, with the proceeds being used to fund dementia services locally.

However, Liz said: “We never send anyone round asking for money.

“There is a process where they have to go through our community fundraiser and the head office to print out sponsorship forms.”

One of the shops targeted was Sprinkles, where manager Christine Clocherty claimed the girls had a form with a charity number printed on it.

She revealed “a good few people” had already sponsored them and she handed over £10 as their form and clipboard looked “legit enough”.

Liz said: “We were alerted to this after a businesswoman got suspicious as one of the girls was rude to her and she thought something wasn’t right.

“If anyone approaches you to ask for money for our charity, don’t hand anything over.”

A spokeswoman for Alzheimer Scotland added: “We are always so grateful when people are able to offer their time and energy to help raise money for us. Unfortunately, however, there are always people who will take advantage.”