“Don’t Get Bitten By Loan Sharks, Kidderminster Residents Urged”
A new campaign urging people not to get bitten by loan sharks has been launched in Kidderminster by the England Illegal Money Lending Team who are working in partnership with West Mercia Police, The Community Housing Group and Worcestershire Trading Standards.
Leaflets will be delivered across the Sion Hill estate to local residents, posters will be displayed at local shops and beer mats will be delivered to local pubs. Agencies will be on hand on 15th June to talk to local residents about the danger of Loan Sharks and promoting the 24-hour hotline that people can ring to report the illegal lending – 0300 555 2222.
The joint approach allows the organisations to share information to bring loan sharks to justice.
Ray Brookes, Group Chief Executive for The Community Housing Group said: “We are really pleased to be part of this important campaign as we know that loan sharks are operating in our district and exploiting people who think that they are an easy way to get out of their financial problems. However, they are not helping and they will only make matters worse. We would encourage resident to come and talk to us and find out about the many organisations who can help them if they are in debt or need to raise funds.”
Simon Wilkes, Head of Worcestershire Trading Standards said "These events are an important way of Communities and various services to come together to combat the scourge of loan sharking. Partners will be gathering information about these activities from local people but prevention is better than cure, so we want to stop people going to loan sharks if the first place if we can through some of the messages we will put out this week."
Edd Williams, T/Chief Inspector Local Policing said: “Loan sharks put people at risk, often the most vulnerable in our communities. Our officers will continue to work in partnership with other agencies using the most appropriate power to target offenders and protect our communities from harm."
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and bringing those who break the law to justice. It’s important to remember that loan sharks are only motivated by greed so should never be used.
“We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”
Loan sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.
Paperwork is rarely offered so victims are often in the dark as to how much they are actually paying. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest are added at random - the highest interest seen by an illegal lender was equivalent to 131,000% APR. In some cases the loan sharks have been known to take items as security including passports, driving licences and bank or post office cards with the PIN in order to withdraw directly from borrowers’ accounts.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 340 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 240 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off over £63.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,500 people.
To report a loan shark:
For more information contact Cath Wohlers, LIAISE Manager, on 07500 809339 or email Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org
To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail email@example.com.
Published - 07.06.2016