A film raising awareness of the dangers of loan sharks will be launched in Lincolnshire on Saturday - using proceeds of crime taken from convicted loan sharks.
The England Illegal Money Lending team joined forces with Lincolnshire Credit Union and Lincolnshire-based Cultural Solutions UK and Blueprint Films on the project.
The film, which is funded with proceeds of crime taken from convicted loan sharks, is part of the team’s ongoing work to prevent the public from using loan sharks.
It has been produced in English and Russian to ensure it reaches a wide base.
An estimated 310,000 households across the country are in debt to a loan shark. They often appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt.
As the debts can’t legally be enforced many will resort to the most extreme methods to enforce repayment including threats, violence and intimidation.
Paperwork is rarely offered so victims are often in the dark as to how much they are actually paying. Exorbitant extra amounts and interest are added at random - the highest interest seen by an illegal lender was equivalent to 131,000 per cent APR.
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Illegal money lending is a despicable crime which causes nothing but harm to our communities.”
“These lenders may appear to be offering a community service but borrowers are often forced to pay back far and above what they have borrowed and can afford.”
“Many are subjected to threats, violence or other callous enforcement methods. We would urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to report them in confidence on 0300 555 2222, as we can help.”
You can also report loan sharks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting loan shark and your message to 60003.