Fighting back against the loan sharks in Sale West

Messenger Newspapers: We're here to help - representatives of the agencies involved We're here to help - representatives of the agencies involved

AN army of people came together to declare war on the illegal money lenders in Sale West.

Police officers joined the area’s residents and representatives from the council and the business community for the launch of Trafford’s Loan Shark Week of Action on Monday.

According to advice published by the Citizens Advice Bureau a ‘loan shark’ is somebody who lends money without a licence issued by the Office of Fair Trading and charges a huge interest rate.

Sergeant Mark Allister Smith said: “We did a similar scheme a couple of years ago which was successful and we managed to get one loan shark convicted who was operating in this area. With that in mind I’ve put together this operation to try and get a similar or a better result.”

He said victims of loan sharks who take out even a ‘small insignificant loan’ can end up paying back thousands of pounds.

Sgt Smith added: “This type of activity ruins lives, people lose their houses from it and in the worst case scenarios they become very depressed and contemplate taking their own life.”

One weapon in the area’s war against the loan sharks has been the Sale Credit Union. It now boasts more than 600 members and allows people to borrow at a low interest rate.

A £1,000 loan take over a year will result in the borrower paying back no more than £1,070.

* There are several ways people can report a loan shark, including calling the 24/7 confidential hotline number on 0300 555 2222 or by texting ‘loan shark’ and your message to 60003. People can also email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk.

The Sale Credit Union can be contacted on 0161 973 3535 or by visiting abcul.org.

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