The Salvation Army is causing a stir over refusing to take donations of toys that it believes promote black magic.

The Christian aid agency collects thousands of toys every Christmas through its Toy Mountain campaign.

But a Salvation Army volunteer who was helping put together toy hampers for less fortunate children says he was given strict orders not to put certain toys in those hampers.

Among the toys deemed unacceptable were Harry Potter items, including books, action figures and DVDs.

"Some of these toys that we were seeing, I mean these are $50, $75, $100-toys. And just because of the nature of the toy, they are not being utilized," said the volunteer, who doesn't want to be identified.

A spokesman for the agency says it isn't appropriate for them to distribute toys they think promote things like the occult, vampires or black magic.

But the toys they are restricting are among the most popular items for teens right now.

In addition to Harry Potter-related products, other rejected toys include anything related to vampires and witchcraft, including merchandise from the popular Twilight series.

However, toy guns appear to be acceptable.

The volunteer says that means donation bins for older kids are nearly empty.

"Their greatest need right now is toys for older kids, that being 12 to 17 years old. I mean Twilight, Harry Potter. What kids wouldn't want to receive something like that?"

The volunteer suggests that the Salvation Army publish a list of toys deemed unacceptable before the annual Toy Mountain campaign.

The Salvation Army says those toys are placed aside and distributed to an unidentified third party, who in turn may distribute them to children if the parents approve of the toys.