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COME FORWARD: Hartlepool loan shark support

COME FORWARD: Hartlepool loan shark support

Hartlepool Council, Image: LDRS

Calls have been made for anyone suffering from dealing with loan sharks in Hartlepool to come forward for support.

The Safer Hartlepool Partnership this week received a presentation from a representative of the England Illegal Money Lending Team on the dangers of loan sharks

Cath Wohlers, Liaise Manager at the organisation,  warned it is a “hidden crime” and said they do everything they can to support victims and prosecute loan sharks.

She also issued a plea for people to spread the word on support available.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Shane Moore, council leader, said: “Certainly I hadn’t and I don’t think other people potentially appreciate how difficult a situation people may be in before they come to a loan shark.”

He also questioned if it was known the full extent of the issue in Hartlepool

Ms Wohlers responded noting “there is not a community it doesn’t happen in” and although Government statistics state there are 300,000 UK households using illegal money lenders, it is likely “significantly higher”.

Cllr Rob Cook added: “When you see those people your heart breaks for them, it’s horrible.”

Ms Wohlers warned loan sharks can be anyone, with a rise in culprits “evolving” to use technology and social media to attract people, and urged people in need to contact them.

She added: “We’ve never had any repercussions for anyone reporting a loan shark, and I’ve never had anyone who’s said they wished they never met us, they say we wish we reported sooner.

“This is a crime, it can be prosecuted, it will be prosecuted and it won’t be tolerated.”

People can visit https://www.stoploansharks.co.uk/contact-us/ to report a loan shark or for more information.

 

Words: Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporter


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