A charity shop in St Albans is launching a new campaign to collect as many bras as possible for women in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Oxfam in Chequer Street has named April the Big Bra Hunt month and is asking residents to bring in their old bras so that they can be sent to West Africa.

Claire McCreesh, manager of the shop, said: "Bras are really complex to make because they are so intricate so few developing countries have the facilities to make them themselves."

Because they are so difficult to produce, second hand bras are a valuable commodity and one of the most desirable items of clothing.

So far the shop has collected two sacks full of bras of all colours, styles and sizes.

Ms McCreesh added: "Many of us are guilty of having unused bras, but often women don’t donate them.

"People have been saying that they didn’t think they would be able to donate bras – they have been quite surprise by it.

"It doesn’t matter what condition they are in because they can be mended."