“Wolfie” and “Sharky” face to face to warn of dangers of loan sharks.
A special illegal money lending awareness event has taken place in Warrington town centre.
Local people were invited to meet Sharky - the national anti-loan shark mascot - and Wolfie, and get a range of help, support and advice.
Warrington Borough Council, together with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Warrington Credit Union and the council’s youth and neighbourhoods teams, coordinated the event as part of their work to raise awareness of the perils of fraudulent lending. It all took place at the Cockhedge Centre, Warrington.
Cllr Judith Guthrie, Executive Board Member for Environment and Public Protection said, “Illegal money lenders can have a horrific impact on our communities, and should never be used under any circumstances. It is important for people to realise that alternatives to borrowing from loan sharks are available if you are in financial difficulty.”
“Loan sharks are not welcome in Warrington and we will continue to work closely with the Illegal Money Lending Team to stamp out this awful crime that affects the most vulnerable. A key part of our work is to educate local families so that they can avoid falling prey to this criminal act”.
The event, as well as focusing on illegal money lending, featured a range of other activities which are crucial in the run up Christmas. Other participants included the police, who offered free bike marking; the council’s youth bus; the credit union; and budget boosters, who offered helpful money advice.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said “We’re pleased to be working with our partners to raise awareness of the risks posed by illegal money lenders and provide guidance on where victims can get help.
“Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on vulnerable people, charging exorbitant rates of interest and using fear and intimidation to recover monies ‘owed’.
“We urge victims of loan sharks to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us bring these crooked lenders to justice.”
Event attendees received free and confidential financial advice, guidance on the next steps to take if you think you have been targeted by a loan shark and find out more about obtaining a loan in a legal, affordable and sensible way; as well as how to start saving with their local credit union.
The family event included prizes in special “guess the number” and “Where’s Sharky?” competitions. Children also had their picture taken with Wolfie and Sharky.