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15 Feb 2017
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working in partnership with Thirteen Housing Group, Tees Credit Union and South Yorkshire Credit Union to host two events during February half term to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders and to promote the alternative legal options available.
Thirteen Group manages more than 32,000 homes in the area spanning North Tyneside to York. Using £1,750 of proceeds of crime money which has been confiscated from convicted loan sharks, Thirteen Group will host two events on 15 and 16 February to encourage residents to steer away from borrowing from loan sharks and to promote Tees Credit Union’s new savings incentive.
The first 50 people to join Tees Credit Union at either of the events and save £1 a week for 12 weeks will be awarded with a £25 savings boost straight in to their credit union account.
Tees Credit Union and South Yorkshire Credit Union offers a range of financial products to their members. In addition to savings accounts, both Credit Unions also have a range of loans services and accounts on offer to members.
There will be plenty of other activities running during the events on the 15 and 16 February, including arts and crafts, interactive games and face painting. For every accompanied child, guests will also receive a free hotdog and a hot meal for £1.
The events will be held at:
- Wednesday 15 February 2017: West View Community Centre, Miers Avenue, Hartlepool, TS24 9JQ
- Thursday 16 February 2017: Kilmarnock Road Resource Centre, 44 Kilmarnock Road, Hartlepool, TS25 3NU
During both events “Sid the Shark” will be getting involved in the activities and will be open to photo opportunities with guests.
Fiona Heighton, Financial Inclusion Leader at Thirteen said: “Loan sharks are illegal and can make people’s lives a misery, usually preying on the most vulnerable in our communities.
“There are alternatives, like the Tees Credit Union, and it is important that this message is reinforced and that is the object of these events. Anyone struggling to make ends meet should come along and learn more about the options available, and steer clear of illegal lenders who charge extortionate interest rates and offer cash loans with no paperwork attached.”
On the 7 February, two suspected loan sharks from Hartlepool were arrested and later bailed on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering. Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We will continue to 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.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
To report a loan shark: