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Social landlord tries to raise shark awareness in Leicester

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Social landlord tries to raise shark awareness in Leicester

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Legal

Riverside loan shark Riverside loan shark

A social landlord is trying to raise awareness of loan sharks in the Leicester area.

Riverside has teamed up with the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Leicester City Council to encourage anyone who has been a victim of dodgy money lenders, or who knows of one operating in their community to report it.

A mural painted on the side of Cort Crescent Community Centre to illustrate why loan sharks should always be avoided was unveiled yesterday.

Working with artist Pete Barber, the mural was designed by local children who attended sessions which gave them a greater understanding of the dangers of loan sharks.

Riverside and Summers Community Café in Braunstone were awarded £500 worth of cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Legislation. Riverside matched the fund with an additional £500 to help highlight the issues surrounding illegal money lending.

Loan sharks usually appear friendly to begin with but are operating illegally. Peeople are urged to look out for loan sharks who may:

• Offer little or no paperwork.
• Increase the debt or add additional amounts at random.
• Are unclear on the terms of the loan.
• Take items as security including passports, bank cards and driving licences.
• Resort to violence, threats and intimidation to enforce the debt.

Rupa Chandarana, community projects supervisor for Riverside, said: “As money becomes tight and the cost of living continues to rise, people can be tempted to use loan sharks to get some much needed extra money. Most end up paying thousands of pounds back for the few hundred pounds borrowed and may also be subjected to threats, intimidation and violence when they are unable to pay.

“We wanted to get a message across that these can be a dangerous path to follow and we have teamed up with the England Illegal Money Lending Team and the local community café to highlight this.”

The council’s assistant mayor Sarah Russell, responsible for neighbourhood services and welfare rights in Leicester, said: “It is vital that people remember that a small loan can build up into a larger debt.

“This campaign will highlight how to report it if they have fallen prey to loan sharks, what people to look out for when considering borrowing money."

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, added: “Illegal money lending is a horrendous crime which leaves people living in misery and fear."

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