Magazine sellers posing as members of Sheffield Raising and Giving (RAG) have been denounced by RAG Chair Rachel Colley as “aggressive” and their publication “obscene”.
The magazine, titled GAG MAG, is being sold along Fargate in the city centre under the pretence of raising money for Sheffield RAG.
But in fact, the profits from magazine sales are being taken by the vendor, rather than donated to charity.
In the introduction to the magazine, the writers claim that it is produced “as an initiative to give students, ex-students and the unemployed, the opportunity to earn money by the selling of it.”
GAG MAG also states it has been ”compiled and printed by scholars and top wits” at various Russell Group universities, including the University of Sheffield.
Sellers of Gag Mags have also been spotted in Leeds and Birmingham.
Several formal complaints to South Yorkshire Police allege that the sellers have been abusive towards members of public. But currently none of the victims of the abuse have decided to press charges.
Sheffield RAG has also received numerous complaints from people who believe that they are responsible for the magazine’s publication and distribution.
Chair of RAG, Rachel Colley, said: “This publication is nothing to do with RAG. Sheffield RAG has a great affinity with the local community and due to the original RAG magazine Twikker, people are buying these editions, which are obscene and are ruining the name of RAG.
“The sellers are aggressive, even chasing some members of the public into shops hurling abuse at them and hassling passers by.”
Community Fundraiser at the University, Emma Damian-Grint, spoke to South Yorkshire Police on behalf of RAG yesterday.
She said: “The police officer that we have been dealing with will be pursuing them the next time they are in the city centre. They do not have a charity number, but because they dress up their activity as selling a periodical magazine, they do not need a permit or license.
“However, the officer involved has said that he has had complaints from other charities and will now be tackling them the next time they are in the city. We hope that this operation will be shut down by the beginning of next year.”