A NORTH-EAST charity is being investigated by a national watchdog.

Rod Jones, who runs Convoy Aid Romania, has been told the organisation is the subject of a inquiry by the Charity Commission.

The commission has set the organisation, which operates from Teesside, a deadline in which it must produce bank statements, account numbers and other details.

Last night, a commission spokeswoman said: "We have received a complaint about Convoy Aid Romania regarding their registered status and have opened an evaluation into these concerns in order to establish whether further action is needed.

"We are currently in discussion with the organisers on a fact-finding basis."

Convoy Aid founder Mr Jones said the Commission's intervention was nothing more than "sour grapes".

The 57-year-old said the commission's interest in the 15-year-old Romanian registered charity follows a complaint he made to the commission about another charity charging children putting gifts in shoe boxes a £2 shipping fee, when he asks for 50p.

"Don't you think when we have been going to Romania for 15 years, if the public had serious concerns about our activities we would have been looked at before now?" he said.

"It is surely a feather in our cap that in those 15 years of dealing with the public, no one ever has had any reason to make a complaint."

The former armed robber makes no secret of his criminal past on Convoy Aid's website and suspects that this open admission has also excited the commission's interest.

Explaining why details of his past appear on the website he said: "We don't want to hide anything. I think what I have done in the last 20 years shows the sort of character I am.''