RESIDENTS with information that may help catch a loan shark are being urged to come forward, safe in the knowledge that confidential help is available.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) is lending its full support to the government backed Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team which investigates illegal money lending and any related offences, which In the past has included violence, blackmail, drugs offences, threats, kidnap and even rape.

A loan shark will typically lend cash but without any paperwork. Often they take items such as passports, bank cards and driving licences as security in order to maintain control. For this reason residents are urged to stay smart and keep away from those offering unofficial cash loans.

Steve Jorden, head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services said “When people are in desperate financial positions, it must be very tempting to borrow money from someone who is willing to give you a couple of hundred pounds.

“What they don’t realise is that demands for payment can then continue for years and in some cases tens of thousands of pounds are paid back. If money isn’t paid then this can lead to horrendous consequences. It is important that these criminals are reported in confidence, investigated and imprisoned.”

People are advised to never be tempted to take a loan from an unofficial lender or loan shark, as they won’t be as friendly when they want more than the loan repaid.

If people are already in a loan shark’s grips, they should call the Illegal Money Lending team who will investigate and offer support.

The Citizens Advice Bureaux can be contacted for debt advice and provide details of financial assistance that may be available and people can also join a credit union, which can give low interest loans.  

For help or to report a loan shark, call the Money Lending Team in confidence on 0300 555 2222, text ‘loan shark + a message’ to 60003 or e-mail .