An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark: 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 including threats, violence and intimidation.
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.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team, in partnership with Dorset Police and Poole Trading Standards are working to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks with residents in the area.
From Monday 27th June, a Week of Action will take place to encourage people to turn away from loan sharks and to report the crime if they have borrowed, as well as offer advice on alternative affordable lending options.
This latest campaign will include advice pop-ups with Officers from Dorset Police, The Illegal Money Lending Team and Poole Trading Standards in attendance across the area:
Monday 27th June – information stall will be at in Canford Heath at the Neighbourhood Centre; 10.00 – 15.00
Tuesday 28th June – Hamworthy; they will be based at the Lidl store opposite Turlin Moor; 10.00 – 15.00
Wednesday 29th June– come and visit at Rossmore, based on Ashley Road at the open space near to Waitrose; 10.00 – 15.00
Thursday 30th June – the team will be at the Dolphin Centre in Poole town centre. 10.00 – 15.00
Community Safety surveys will also be conducted with residents by visiting homes in the Canford Heath, Creekmoor and Learoyd Road on Monday the 27th, Turlin Moor and Hamworthy properties, finishing at the school and family centre on Turlin Road on the 28th and the Rossmore area on Wednesday the 29th.
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team says “We are pleased to work with our partner agencies to make sure our message gets out to communities and we will continue our work to combat loan sharks. They can cause untold misery to the most disadvantaged in our communities. We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”
James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole, adds “Loan sharks are not only illegal, they are one of the most expensive ways to borrow money and while they may seem like a quick fix, they often cause such suffering for people they quickly regret taking such a desperate course of action.”
“There are much better, safer and cheaper ways to manage your money and we would encourage residents to find out more by visiting one of the pop-up information stands or visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/stoploansharks.”
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject