Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes and East Durham Homes, as part of County Durham Housing Group, have signed a charter that bites back against loan sharks.
Working with the national Illegal Money Lending Team, the group is raising awareness of the perils of fraudulent lending and highlighting the support available to those who have fallen prey or are being targeted.
Dawn Patterson from Dale & Valley Homes said: “While illegal money lenders may appear friendly at first, they can quickly trap their victims into spiralling debts through threatening behaviour, violence and intimidation.”
Anita Lowther from Durham City Homes continued: “There’s no question, loan sharks offer an illegal form of money lending to often society’s most vulnerable people and we want to show that help is available.”
Heather Wake from East Durham Homes concluded: “We want people to realise that if they are a victim that this is a form of criminal activity and it should be reported.”
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Illegal money lenders can have a horrific impact on our communities, and should never be used under any circumstances and we are cracking down on unlicensed lenders who make people’s lives a misery.
“It is important for people to realise that alternatives to borrowing from loan sharks are available if you are in financial difficulty.”
If residents think that there are illegal money lenders operating in their area they should call the Illegal Money Lending Team anonymously on 0300 555 2222, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text LOAN SHARK and the lender’s details to 0786 002 2116.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark
The charter was also signed by representatives from County Durham and Darlington Fire Brigade, Durham County Council, Durham Police and NEFirst Credit Union.