Stop Loan Sharks message brought to Port Clarence Health and Wealth Event

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) will be spreading their ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ message at a Health and Wealth event hosted by the Thirteen Group, which will be held at the Port Clarence Community Centre on 19th February.

1 Jan 2016

The IMLT will be one of a number of agencies attending the event, aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles and financial stability to local residents.

There will be information stands at the event, including ones by Tees Credit Union, at which people will be able to open new accounts and a financial education stand, which will help people with shopping on a budget and giving them money saving tips. Tristar Homes, which is part of the Thirteen Group, has hundreds of homes in Port Clarence.

Dave Pickard, Director of Operations for Thirteen, said: “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, often cause such suffering for people that 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 attend this event to find out more.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “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.”

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 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.

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, the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 334 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 212 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £63 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,000 people.