VOLUNTEERS at a charity shop walked out after they saw donations - including silverware, jewellery, commemorative tea sets and an unopened wi-fi router - had been binned.

Several members of staff at the Red Cross shop, in Richmond, including one paid employee, quit after claiming that items from the shop had been discarded by bosses intent on de-cluttering.

They said they found a large pile of rubbish at the rear of the shop containing items which had been on sale just days before a merchandising team arrived.

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Christine Martin-Law, who was a volunteer at the shop for five years, said: “The area manager came into the shop when customers were present, and binned perfectly fine donations.

“We looked though the rubbish heap and rescued loads of stuff which we then went on to sell at a coffee morning.”

The Red Cross declined to comment on whether perfectly saleable donations had been binned from the Richmond shop.

A spokesman said the charity’s policy was only to dispose of broken and unusable items, or those which could not be recycled or traded in.

However, volunteers who salvaged the bins for dumped donations, said they made more than £40 from the recovered items at the coffee morning.

Another former volunteer, Joan Nixon, said: “Why wasn't the stuff that was thrown in the bin first offered to other charity shops?

“There was no consideration given to the feelings of customer, donors or volunteers.

“People give with quite some emotion sometimes. Some of the donations might have belonged to people's deceased mothers or relatives.

“I think that people would be horrified to know that there donations were being thrown out.”

Ex-volunteers also expressed concern that the charity paid an interim manger to stay in The Kings Head hotel in Richmond.

A spokesman for the charity said: “A staff member has been temporarily running the shop in Richmond for a month since two colleagues left their roles – and he is from another area, he has been staying in a nearby hotel.”

Volunteers who previously worked at the Red Cross shop, in Rosemary Lane, have now gone on to work for other charities.