Scheme launched to tackle menace of loan sharks

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Council chiefs in St Helens are set to launch an initiative designed to help residents avoid falling prey to illegal money lenders.

The scheme is a partnership between the council’s trading standards team and a number of community groups in the borough.

They are Wargrave Big Local, St Helens Citizens Advice and the Illegal Money Lending Team England.

Trading standards will be at Newton Community Centre throughout the week commencing October 16.

Money boxes will also be given out to encourage saving, as saving a little and often can go a long way towards household bills, or a luxury item.

Residents will be offered an opportunity to make an appointment with Citizens Advice for further advice and information around benefits, budgeting and debt.

On Thursday 19 October, a representative of the National Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team England will be speaking to organisations who work in the community about the impact of loan sharks, how to spot the signs of illegal money lending and how to report it.

Residents are also invited to take advantage of this service at a session which will take place at 12 noon.

Councillor Terry Shields, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Green Smart and Sustainable Borough, said: “Illegal money lending (loan sharking) is a criminal offence and often sees unlicensed lenders target vulnerable people.

The National Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.

This initiative will provide residents with information which will help them to avoid falling prey to loan sharks and the misery illegal money lending leads to.”

Trading Standards and Citizens Advice will be at Newton Community Centre,

Park Road South, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 8EX on:

Monday 16 October: 13.00pm to 15.00pm and 17.00pm to 20.00pm

Tuesday 17 October: 12.00pm to 16.00pm

Thursday 19 October: 9.30am to 16.00pm and 18.00pm to 20.00pm

Friday 20 October: 9.30am to 12.30pm

On Wednesday 18 October, the team will at various locations in the Wargrave area, including the Trees Estate and Vulcan Village.