National hate crime awareness week

A new documentary highlighting the clampdown on illegal money lenders is due to air on BBC One at 22:45pm on 10th January.

 

‘The War on Loan Sharks’ is a 50-minute perceptive documentary which follows the work of the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), a dedicated team who work to combat loan sharks across the country.

 

As many households struggle to make ends meet, the programme reveals how illegal money lenders are preying on the vulnerable by charging huge interest rates and using bullying tactics such as intimidation and in some cases, violence to enforce repayments from their victims. The programme hears from the victims who are still living with the worrying consequences as a result of borrowing from a loan shark.

 

The BBC follow IMLT from the moment a call comes through to the report a loan shark hotline, through to intelligence gathering, dawn raids, arrests and convictions in their fight to stop loan sharks in their tracks.

 

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

 

“This documentary sends a clear message to viewers that loan sharks will not be tolerated in our society and will be brought to justice.

 

“We would urge anyone who has been affected by a loan shark to call our 24-hour, confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be dealt with confidentially by one of our trained Officers and you will receive a dedicated liaise officers who will support you the process”

 

Loan sharking is an illegal activity which makes victims lives a misery. Borrowers are trapped into spiralling debt by loan sharks who often resort to the most extreme methods such as violence, threats or intimidation to pressure them into paying loans back.

 

There are an estimated 310,000 households borrowing from illegal money lenders. Loan sharks hardly ever issue paperwork on their loans, resulting in victims oblivious to how much they owe and the exorbitant interest rates the lender is charging. IMLT have previously seen a loan shark charge his victims in excess of 4 million per cent APR.

 

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 368 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.75 million worth of illegal debt and helped nearly 26,000 people.

 

To report a loan shark:

 

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

 

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 078600 22116

 

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

 

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

 

 

For more information, please contact Holly-Leigh Luckman, Illegal Money Lending Team’s Press Officer on 0121 464 4699 or email holly.luckman@birmingham.gov.uk.

 

To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk.

 

Notes to editors

 

The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.

 

The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

 

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.  The National Trading Standards Board has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.

 

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 368 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.75 million worth of illegal debt and helped nearly 26,000 people.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.

 

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Community Safety

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email: community.safety@dudley.gov.uk