A crackdown on loan sharks


A £3 million crackdown on loan shark lending has been launched and specially trained teams have the task of tracing illegal lenders. John Hutton, Business Secretary, said that the crackdown will bring dishonest lenders to justice.

In the last 3 years, specialist trading standards officers and the police have tracked down 200 loan sharks and shut down loan books of over £3 million in Glasgow and Birmingham.

The pilot scheme was a great success so the teams will now be extended and joined by new centres doing the same job across the rest of the country.

The scheme is part of the Government’s attempts to reduce financial exclusion. Every year, over 165,000 households with debt problems are exploited by loan sharks. Many of these have been victims of violence and intimidation if payments are not made.

Mr Hutton commented that these loan sharks are taking advantage of vulnerable and desperate people. The aim is to shut them down and bring them to justice. The specialist teams will ensure that anyone who feels trapped or frightened has the courage to report these criminals and put a stop to their illegal activities.

The £3 million plan to introduce the scheme nationwide will fund the Birmingham team’s expansion into the South East and the East of England and Glasgow’s into the rest of Scotland.

New teams are to be set up in the North East, the East Midlands, the South West, Wales, the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside.

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