News item

Students help council bite back against loan sharks

A crackdown on loan sharks has been given extra bite with a new poster designed by a Kingston University student.

Artwork by Garfield Kar C Li, a Fashion Masters student, will appear around Kingston town centre warning people with debt problems not to turn to illegal money lenders.  

Kingston Council’s Trading Standards team commissioned Kingston University Students’ Union (KUSU) to hold a competition to find an eye-catching design that would help draw public attention to the dangers of loan sharks.

Councillor Simon James, lead member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said:

“Garfield’s striking poster helps to highlight our message that loan sharks can have a devastating impact on families.

“No matter how much you are struggling, loan sharks are not the answer to your financial troubles. If you have been affected by illegal money lending we urge you to get in touch with the Illegal Money Lending Team.”

Lucy Williams, KUSU Vice-President Student Life, said:

“As a students’ union, we are always on the look-out for new ways to engage students with their community. In addition it’s also a great way for them to boost their skills and career prospects.

“It has been really positive to see strong relationships being built within our community and we look forward to working in partnership with Kingston Council in the future.”

To report loan shark activity call 0300 555 2222 to speak to experts in confidence. Alternatively, text ‘Loan shark’ with your message to 60003, email or send a private message at
Credit unions, like Kingston Savers – run by Kingston Voluntary Action and backed by Kingston Council – are a safe and legal way to borrow money. To find out more about Kingston Savers email, call 020 8255 3335 or visit

– Ends –

Notes to editors

• A shortlist of 12 competition entries was judged by members from the Council’s Trading Standards and Communications teams, the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Kingston University Students’ Union.

• The winning poster will be displayed on Kingston town centre notice boards between 26 March and 23 April 2013.

• The competition winner received £100 in Waterstones vouchers. Two runners-up received £50 in Waterstones vouchers each.

• The England Illegal Money Lending Team has been operating in Kingston since January 2009 on invitation from the Council’s Trading Standards office. In that time, a number of investigations have been carried out into loan shark activity in the borough.

• For more information about Illegal Money Lending contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119. 

• Winning loan shark poster

DATE: 20 March 2013