News item

Confiscated cash from convicted loan sharks awarded to Croydon projects

Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks has been awarded to three local projects. The England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Croydon Council provided the cash taken from illegal lenders under proceeds of crime legislation, to local communities, with residents deciding which projects would receive the funding.

Nearly 250 votes were cast online and each of the following projects were successful:

Turkish Youth and Community Association

Received £750 to run drop-in services and workshops on finance, for families who don’t speak English as a first language. 

His Grace Evangelical Outreach (HGEO)

Received £750 for a project that teaches young people about budgeting, effective money management, and the dangers of loan sharks. The young people will also present a play about the dangers of loan sharks to their peers. 

Croydon, Sutton Merton Credit Union -  in South Norwood ward

Received £575 to promote their family loan products to residents across South Norword. 

Councillor Simon Hoar, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Loan sharks are one of the ills of modern society, with their illegal trade frequently ending in misery and deepening debt for those desperate enough to have to resort to borrowing money from them.

“It is especially gratifying, therefore, that their ill-gotten gains have been confiscated and are being returned to local organisations that will make sure the proceeds are put to good and beneficial use in their communities.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “The events were hugely positive with the extorted cash being put to excellent use. Thanks to everyone who voted 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 Croydon 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 more than 300 prosecutions leading to more than 190 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 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

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For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk.

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards. 

NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.  The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland. 

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 300 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 190 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 people.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist 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. 

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DATE: 13 January 2013