News item

Your Choice Winners announced

Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks has been awarded to three projects to benefit the Enfield Community. The England Illegal Money Lending Team, working in partnership with Enfield Council provided the ill-gotten gains taken from illegal lenders to local communities; with nearly 200 residents deciding which projects would receive the funding, during an event held yesterday at Enfield Civic Centre.

Enfield Metropolitan Police Volunteer Police Cadets (VPC):  is a uniformed youth group open to young people aged 13 to 19 years. The Cadets perform duties in support of local policing plan objectives in relation to Safer Neighbourhood initiatives. They received £995 and will use the funding for a mobile space (mess tent) for holding crime prevention workshops and recruitment campaigns at local outdoor events.

Enfield Trading Standards: will be supporting Keep Safe Week 18- 22 March 2013 and will focus on rogue traders, scams and illegal money lending.  The message will be on how to protect against financial abuse and warn of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders. They received £750 and will use the funding to distribute corporate travel mugs marked with the Enfield Trading Standards logo, Illegal Money Lending logo, “Keep safe and report a loan shark” and the 0300 555 2222 hotline number for reporting loan sharks.

Enfield Credit Union (NLCU): Received £500. They will raise awareness of the credit union, as a safe and legal alternative to using loan sharks and encourage individuals to save.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and Public Health, Cllr Christine Hamilton, said: "Loan sharks are a stain on our community and we're determined to do everything we can to stop them in their tracks. Yesterday's event was a great opportunity for Enfield residents to choose which community projects in our borough were supported by money seized from loan sharks. Enfield Council very much supports this scheme.” 

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “Today’s event was hugely positive with the extorted cash being put to excellent use. Thanks to everyone who attended or entered a bid- you have contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community. Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims, but we are continuing to tackle them in Enfield and across the country. We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 222 prosecutions leading to more than 150 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40million worth of illegal debt and helped over 19,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
   E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
   Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

***ENDS***

For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430.

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) represents all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board was established by the Government to improve the enforcement of laws intended to tackle rogue traders operating both regionally and nationally who are causing harm to consumers and legitimate businesses. The NTSB issues grants and funds national and regional initiatives such as Scambusters, the Illegal Money Lending Teams, Safety at Ports and the National Trading Standards eCrime Centre.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 222 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 150 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £40 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 19,000 victims.

Funded by the National Trading Standards Board, the Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams; England, Scotland and Wales. Hosted by Birmingham City Council and working in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities up and down the country, the England Team consists of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders. The project piloted in 2004, and expanded in 2007.

DATE: 19 March 2013 Ends