ORGANISATIONS across North Worcestershire have joined forces in a bid to stop residents falling victim to loan sharks.
More than 100 staff members from 19 agencies, including West Mercia Police, Bromsgrove District Council, Redditch Borough Council and Age UK, took part in ‘Stop Loan Sharks’ awareness training between January and May.
The sessions, run by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, showed frontline staff what signs to look out for and how to recognise the symptoms and effects of illegal money lending when dealing with customers.
They were also trained about how to deal with the situations appropriately and sensitively.
Alasdair Baker, Bromsgrove District Council’s community safety project officer, said: “Very often victims of loan sharks are unwilling to come forward about their circumstances and therefore it makes it very hard to help them.
“The training session was a real eye-opener and I now feel more confident that I would be able to identify illegal money lending issues amongst the individuals and families I work with.”
And Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, added they were pleased to be working in partnership with other bodies to highlight the dangers of loan sharks, who preyed on vulnerable residents, and offer support to those affected.
Anyone involved with a loan shark or who suspects one is operating in their area can report it to the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), which is part of Trading Standards, by calling 0300 555 2222, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by texting ‘loan shark’ and the details to 60003.