Loan shark teams save more than 3 million from the pockets of their victims

Two Government funded inititatives to tackle loan sharks have identified over 200 illegal lenders and saved more than 3 million from the pockets of their victims according to an evaluation report.

Their success means that the Government will be extending the teams to cover every region of the UK.

The Department for Trade and Industry believes about 165,000 households in the UK use illegal money lenders, many in the poorest parts of the country.

The projects in Glasgow and Birmingham have;

  • Identified over 200 illegal lenders;
  • Saved around 3.3m that would otherwise have been paid out by some of the poorest people in the UK;
  • 19 cases in court or in the prosecution pipeline;
  • Recovered 1m from assets of illegal lenders with 1m more likely to be collected pending court cases;

    Trade and Industry minister Ian McCartney commented: "The loan shark projects in Birmingham and Glasgow have worked tirelessly in the last year to pursue loan sharks and take them off the streets.

    "Loan sharks prey on the poorest people in our communities and use threats and violence to intimidate the people they are ripping off.

    "These people are the lowest of the low and the pilot projects have done a fantastic job in getting loan sharks behind bars where they belong."

    In November last year MPs urged a crackdown on 'loan sharks'. The Commons Treasury Committee said the activities of illegal and unlicensed lenders represented "real causes for concern". Committee chairman Labour MP John McFall said the collapse of the Farepak Christmas savings club highlighted the need for action.