Intimidating charity fundraisers, known as ‘chuggers’, could be effectively banned from high streets across the Bradford district after a rise in complaints from shoppers and businesses.

A report commissioned by Bradford Council recommends the use of byelaws to halt the rise of the ‘chuggers’ – a term blending the words “charity” and “muggers” – who use tactics to “harass and obstruct shoppers” to get them to hand over their bank details.

The move follows successful year-long campaigns in Shipley and Keighley in which the town centre managers, police and council wardens led a crackdown after concerns that street fundraisers were putting off shoppers.

The report states: “These street collectors approach shoppers with the ultimate aim of getting them to sign direct debit mandates donating monthly amounts to charity. Some of these street collectors are quite forceful, harass and obstruct shoppers, often through an aggressive, intimidating or pressurising approach. The number of complaints has increased.”

Most of the chuggers are agency workers who, because they are not collecting money, do not have to abide by the rules applying to volunteers with charity tins. One shopper described the practice as a “grotesque exercise in money-grabbing” and called for tougher action.

Allan Friswell, of Cowling , near Keighley, said he was “disgusted” by the tactics of chuggers working on behalf of environmental charity The Woodland Trust who arrived at Co-op stores in Silsden and Cross Hills . He described one young chugger as “discourteous to put it mildly.”

“You don’t loudly call women strangers ‘darling, doll, sweetheart,’ and other choice expressions regarding their appearance,” he said. “And someone should tell him that standing by the tills whistling and chucking his pen in the air is both irritating to staff and the sign of someone who is bored with his ‘job’.

“The good name of the Woodland Trust has sunk to the depths locally after this grotesque exercise in money-grabbing.”

Phil Shipway, direct marketing manager for The Woodland Trust, said fundraisers working in the Bradford district were on private sites, such as Co-op stores, where their presence had been agreed and approved by a retail chain or a shopping centre.

He said: “Together with the agency who manage the fundraisers on our behalf we are conducting an investigation into the points raised to see what further action may be necessary. All activity in the Cross Hills Co-op store has been stopped.”

Keighley Area Committee will discuss the possible options at a meeting on Thursday.

Steve Hartley, Bradford Council’s assistant director for neighbourhood service, said: “Many towns across the country have been facing the problem of chuggers. We have tackled this problem in Keighley and Shipley, along with the police and neighbourhood wardens, by using a byelaw which prevents touting.

“We are looking at adopting the same approach in Bradford and in Ilkley where councillors have experienced similar concerns.”