Stained and ripped mattresses, mouldy sofas and urine-stained items are among items dumped on the doorsteps of Tauranga charity stores - with the cost falling back on those trying to help.
Stores across the city reported seeing a spike in the dumping of broken or unusable goods outside their stores over the holiday period, with offenders choosing to strike when no one was around.
Manager at Tauranga's Doing Good Foundation store Shelly Rey said stained and ripped mattresses and mouldy sofas were just some of the things workers found dumped outside their store after the holiday period, but also on a regular basis.
She said the dumping of broken, unwanted goods outside their store was an "ongoing issue" and they were taking more than a van load a month to the dump at their own cost.
Items that were "no use to anyone" were being left, more often than not on the weekends, she said.
"People are seeing us as an alternate option to the dump."
The store had seen a spike in dumping over the holiday period. They had a broken barbecue, sofas, chairs, mattresses and a bed, all in terrible condition, waiting to go to the dump, she said.
When good quality things were left outside the store on weekends, it was more often than not being stolen before the store got to it, she said. They had even had to lock their rubbish bin as people rifled through it.
"It really is a big issue."
A lot of people could not afford dumping costs and were even struggling to afford "food for their mouths", she said.
However, it needed to stop as it was a cost on the store, which reduced the funds going back into the community, she said.
The Salvation Army operates Family Stores across the Bay of Plenty where donated goods were sold to allow the organisation to do its work in the community.
Spokeswoman Louise Parry said the store often ran into trouble when people left items outside of opening hours and goods were strewn across the front of their stores when they returned to work.
"It's heartbreaking for them to see that many of the donations have been spoilt from being left outside in the weather and are therefore unable to be sold."
She said they had a lot of "unsaleable donations" due to them being "broken, damaged, stained, unhygienic or not meeting required safety standards".
People also sometimes dumped rubbish outside the store, which posed a health risk to staff, he said.
"We have limited available volunteers to help with sorting, cleaning and re-stocking which makes sorting rubbish from saleable items very time consuming and that affects the quantity of fresh stock we can get out on the shelves for our customers."
She said many councils throughout the country were choosing to prosecute people that left goods in public access spaces outside charity stores and the Salvation Army was willing to provide CCTV footage where available.
"This is an issue that is a community one and it is often the local council rubbish collectors who have to contend with it."
She said they did still get a "great amount of quality goods and labelled clothing that make for very affordable fashion for families on a tight budget".
A Tauranga City Council spokesman said they did not get a lot of complaints about dumping outside charity stories, but chose to take an educational approach when offenders were identified.
No infringements had been issued in recent years, he said.
He said they worked with the stores to reduce the appeal of dumping goods at their locations.
Another Tauranga charity store worker, who asked not to be named, had regular experiences where people would come and rummage through donated goods left outside their store and in some cases, even urinate on them, the manager said.
She said it was "just the way it is, unfortunately".
Her shop was filling a Skip bin up twice a week with broken or unusable goods at a cost to the shop itself, she said.
However, her staff had been "pleasantly surprised" to find minimal dumping outside their store over the holiday period.
She said they cherished the majority of the donations they got and more often than not were given "beautiful things" but when people took advantage it had an impact on the business and what they could give back to the community.