SHOPPERS have been urged to shun people who claim to be selling a tiny magazine for charity.
The move comes after a major campaign in Manchester to get sellers of the magazine called Smiler off the streets over there.
The sellers claim money raised by the sale of the magazine buys wheelchairs for disabled children, but there is no firm evidence for this.
Even the solicitor for the magazine's owner accepts that the magazine sale is a commercial venture.
Kirklees Council licensing officials have revealed that they have prosecuted two of the magazine sellers through the courts and move them on every time they come to Huddersfield.
The two young men - one from Blackpool and the other from Leeds - were convicted at Huddersfield Magistrates' Court of engaging in street trading without being authorised to do so. Both were fined £110 with £50 costs each.
The magazine is published in Blackpool. Normally it has fewer than 20 pages and contains mainly poems, jokes and brainteasers sent in by contributors who have received a music or video voucher in return.
Kirklees Council group licensing officer Doug Holliday urged people not to buy the magazine.
"My advice to people is that they are wasting their money," he said. Don't buy anything from these sellers. If you want to give money to charity, make sure you know where it is going.
"If it was for a charitable cause, they could get a permit from us for free. They have never applied for one. If they did apply, they would have to stipulate how much they had raised and where it was going and this would have to be properly audited."
He added: "One of my concerns is that we are actively promoting the town centre, but I believe this kind of thing deters people from coming in. These sellers go up to people and use strong tactics to sell."
The Smiler sellers have usually targeted the King Street and Victoria Lane areas outside Boots in Huddersfield and have also been in Dewsbury town centre.
"When we move people like this on they don't usually come back," said Mr Holliday. "But these sellers have been very persistent and have come back time and time again. They come here about a dozen times a year."
He urged anyone with concerns about people who accost them in the street trying to sell them things or offer services to contact Kirklees Council licensing department.
"We will then investigate," he said.
The Smiler magazine does not have a phone number on it, only a PO box number in Blackpool.
The Manchester Evening News carried out an extensive investigation into the way the sellers operate and discovered they often target teenage girls or young mothers and claim to be raising money to buy wheelchairs for disabled children.
The newspaper said the publisher is 40-year-old Blackpool man Patrick Jarrett.
His solicitor, Trevor Colebourne - a partner with Blackpool firm Leslie Harris - failed to return phone calls from the Examiner to his office.
But in an e-mail he sent to the Manchester Evening News he stated: "Our client operates a business for profit. He is not a charity. The Smiler magazine is not a charity. He does not, nor does anyone on his instruction, collect for or purport to collect for a charitable purpose."
But he added: "He has donated out of business profits seven electric wheelchairs to deserving causes."