YOUNG people in the Shankill area are running a sinister door-to-door scam, it’s been claimed.

According to a local resident at least two young people have been spotted going around the doors asking for sponsorship money.

The man claimed the young men are using the opportunity to suss out who lives in the houses and when the properties are unoccupied to see which homes they can target for burglaries.

It’s further claimed what sponsorship money they do receive from unknowing residents is for their own personal use.

Sinn Féin Councillor Johnny McGibbon has called on people to be wary of giving money to young people who claim to be collecting sponsorship for a charity.

The councillor issued his statement after receiving complaints from members of the public who had been asked for money by individuals who had produced suspicious looking, photocopied sponsorship forms.

He pointed out that there are many young people taking part in sponsored activities for a variety of good and genuine causes but they are usually instructed by the organisers to approach only people they know and with whom they are familiar.

Mr McGibbon said: “I would encourage people to help charities but they should not hand out money to young people who call at their door and who are not personally known to them.

“Always work on the premise that young people who are asked to collect sponsorship are told to do so only among their family circle and accredited charity workers will always have identification badges on open display.

“It is better to be safe than sorry and if in doubt contact the charity or group in whose name they are calling at your door.”