The Home Office has been accused of seeking to hijack the country's leading anti-crime community network by undermining its parent body.
The National Neighbourhood Watch Association is facing collapse because of a row over the use of the neighbourhood watch logo in a £1 million, five-year sponsorship deal.
There is concern that the Home Office wants the association wound up so that it can take control of an estimated 165,000 neighbourhood watch schemes. The network, established in 1982, is the largest charitable organisation in the country, covering more than six million homes and 10 million people. Its annual campaigning week begins on Sunday.