Sunday, 23 August 2009

Special Unit to Target Bridgend Loan Sharks

Bridgend County Borough Council is to enter into a partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Unit to target loan sharks.

Set up to work alongside local authorities throughout Wales, the Illegal Money Lending Unit will work with Trading Standards officers to investigate illegal money lending in Bridgend County Borough and help bring loan sharks to justice.

They will also help the victims of illegal moneylenders and provide assistance and practical support alongside local and national debt advice teams.

Councillor John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “In the current economic climate, more people may be tempted to approach illegal money lenders, especially as it becomes harder to obtain credit elsewhere. But loan sharks target the most vulnerable members of society and have been known to charge interest rates of 100 per cent and even 117,000 per cent.

“If you are going to borrow money, always ask to see a potential lender’s consumer credit licence as proof that they are legally sanctioned to lend money.

“Alternatively, organisations such as credit unions can offer a safer, fully regulated way of borrowing and saving money. I would urge people who are thinking about borrowing money to seriously consider using a credit union instead of going to a loan shark.

“This partnership with the Illegal Money Lending Unit will give our Trading Standards officers access to specialist areas of expertise, techniques and facilities, and will help us to protect local residents.”

Anyone who thinks they have borrowed money off an illegal lender can contact the Illegal Money Lending team for Wales on 0300 123 33 11 or at


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