BOSSES at an air ambulance charity fear their fundraising has been damaged by police warnings about bogus cold callers in Ryedale.

The Great North Air Ambulance, which covers an area spanning from north of York to the Scottish Borders, raises much of its funds through its lottery, with representatives signing members up by calling door to door.

But earlier this month, police were alerted by The Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a different charity covering North, South, East and West Yorkshire, that members of the public had reported fraudsters posing as its representatives to sign them up to a lottery.

North Yorkshire police issued a warning, but as a result of that, the Great North Air Ambulance says it is receiving numerous cancellations of subscriptions to its lottery.

Barbara Walton, director of support services for the Great North Air Ambulance, said: “We are losing a lot of our lottery subscriptions and if people have cancelled standing orders we won’t know until it’s up for renewal in five months time so we can’t even say what the long- term impact will be.

“From the information I’ve received, I think this could be extremely damaging. To what extent I can’t put a figure on but the lottery makes up almost a third of our income, so we’re talking thousands of pounds.”

Ms Walton said: “People can ring the office if they have any concerns and all our collectors carry ID.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The last thing we would want to do is deny funds from such a valuable and deserving service, however, we do have a duty to warn the public about bogus callers and prevent crime.”

She said: “Our advice was made in good faith in response to concerns from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and still applies to members of the public who are faced with cold-callers at their door.

“Do not give money or bank details to anyone who you are not 100 per cent sure is genuine. Contact the organisation and verify the caller is genuine. Sadly there are people who take advantage of the public’s generosity and residents need to be on their guard against them.”