Stop Loan Sharks

What is a loan shark?

A two-month long project anti-loan shark was launched in Denton last month.

Hosted by Tameside Arts Ltd at the New Chapel, the project was officially launched by Tameside Civic Mayor, Cllr Denise Ward and Cllr Brenda Warrington.

The loan shark project will use art to highlight issues related to loan sharking and the subsequent dangers. Representatives from Tameside Council and Neighbourhood Services, The Illegal Money Lending Team and Prime Active Communities CIC were in attendance at the launch event.

Guests also met sculpture artist Jack Doyle, who will be creating an art installation with the help from the Tameside public. The piece will be installed at Tameside Arts ltd new venue, The CREATE Centre, 8-10 Market St, Denton, opening in April.

Jack will be holding five, two-hour sculpture art workshops, weekly from February 7 to March 7, from 10am-12pm at The New Chapel, Clare St, Denton. Those who attend will have the chance to work with Jack to create the art installation and also develop their research and interview skills.

A celebration event, showcasing all the art that will have been made, launched by Tameside Civic Mayor, Cllr Denise Ward and Cllr Brenda Warrington will be held on March 14th, also at The New Chapel, Clare St, Denton.

For more information, visit tamesideartsltd.co.uk/loan-shark. Phone 0161 368 3422

A loan shark is someone who runs a money lending business without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

There are many risks attached to borrowing from a loan shark.  Firstly you will pay far more in interest than you would through any legal borrowing. One man who borrowed £250 to buy a car ended up repaying over £90,000!

You might also be harassed or threatened if you fall behind on repayments on your loan.  There have been reports of people being intimidated and attacked by loan sharks.

You might be pressured into borrowing more money to repay one loan with another, sending you into a spiral of debt that you can never repay. 

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) has helped over 28,000 people to escape the jaws of loan sharks.  If you have been affected by illegal money lending, contact the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk.

How do I know if I have borrowed from a loan shark?

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?
  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you as security for a loan?

Alternatives to loan sharks

If you are on a low income, have a poor credit rating or you only need a small amount for a short while, there are reputable lenders you can turn to instead of loan sharks.

To check if a money lender is authorised to lend money, you can search the Financial Conduct Authoritydatabase and shop around for the best deals.

Credit unions

Credit unions offer an alternative to banks, building societies and doorstep/payday lenders.

There are many advantages of joining a credit union: lower fees, better interest rates and secure savings.

Credit unions are not-for-profit businesses, owned by their members that provide affordable loans and a home for savings.  They exist to benefit their community and offer a lifeline for people who have bad credit and can’t access ordinary bank products.

Credit unions also offer an ethical alternative to unscrupulous loan sharks.

Cash Box Credit Union is a community savings and loan cooperative for people who live or work in Tameside and Glossop.

Cash Box offers a safe place to save your money and somewhere to borrow at low rates of interest.

To become a member of Cash Box, you must be part of their ‘common bond’ i.e. live or work in Tameside and Glossop. You will also need to complete an application form and supply two forms of ID. For further information, visit the website.

NEWS

Tameside’s standing up to hate crime and loan sharks

YOUNG people in Tameside are being helped in standing up to hate crime and loan sharks.

Tameside Council teamed together with Prime Active Communities CIC and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to deliver awareness sessions at Denton Community College.

They included workshops on identifying and tackling hate crime and anti-social behaviour delivered to 150 students by the Council’s Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety and GMP.

The Council’s Youth Services and Prime Active Communities CIC delivered a series of informative workshops about the dangers of using loan sharks, how to spot and report the signs and ways to borrow and save money responsibly, to 1,300 students. A film also highlighted the dangers of using loan sharks and the support available to victims.

A representative from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) was also available at an information stand for any students wishing to chat in confidence.

The event was part of the College’s PHSE day with different organisations including CGL, You Think, Dog’s Trust and the Fire Service speaking to students about the services they provide. 

Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, attended the event.

She said: “No-one should ever face abuse or violence because of who they are and a lot of work is taking place in Tameside to eradicate hate crime, including educational activities that raise awareness and support our young people in doing the right thing.

“Loan sharks can devastate the most vulnerable people in our communities, causing them to get into financial difficulties and using the most callous methods to enforce their illegal debts. It’s important to give students an understanding of the dangers of loan sharks from an early age, as not only will they share what they have learnt with their families but also so they know to avoid these criminals in adult life.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for creating these sessions and Denton Community College staff and students for their participation.”

The loan sharking workshops were funded by the England IMLT using proceeds of crime money seized from convicted loan sharks.

Hate crime is any crime that is targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s alternative subculture, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender ID/ gender reassignment.

If you’re a victim of hate crime, you can seek help or make a report by visiting www.report-it.org.uk/your_police_force or for anti-Muslim hate crime, https://tellmamauk.org. Alternatively, in an emergency call 999 or for a non-emergency 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark can report them in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.