TOWN Hall chiefs are urging residents to stay clear of loan sharks in the build up to Christmas.
Trading Standards officers at the council warn that spiralling repayments will make life even more difficult for those tempted to take out a loan.
Loan sharks operate illegally. As a result, their debts aren’t enforceable in law and many will resort to bullying tactics - including violence, threats and intimidation – to reclaim their money
Councillor Alison Bacon, Cabinet Member for Environmental Protection, said: “Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable communities and fleece their victims out of hard earned cash, often through intimidation and violence.”
Illegal moneylenders gain control over their victims and their finances.
They’ve been known to get hold of the victim’s bank or post office cards, along with the PINs, to withdraw directly from their accounts - leaving them with little or nothing to get by.
Trading Standards Officers work closely with the England Illegal Money Lending Team – who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and any related activity. Since the team’s formation earlier this year, 28 suspected illegal moneylenders have been arrested. More than 190 prosecutions have been secured - leading to more than 117 years worth jail terms.