Loan Shark

Loan Shark Week of Action launches in Sale West


SALEWESTVOICE are pleased to support Trafford Council during Loan Shark week of action.

Teaming up with Greater Manchester Police, the National Illegal Money Lending Team, SWAP, businesses and Sale West residents the aim is to tackle the impact of illegal Loan Shark operations in the area.

Nationally over 300,000 households are in debt to a Loan Shark.


The week of action is following on from the success of a similar campaign in 2012, which saw local residents embark on a Loan Shark awareness work-shop, learning skills and tips that were then shared with the wider community.

Throughout the week SaleWestVoice (@swvm33) will be tweeting daily updates and statistics, as well as contact details of where to find help and advice on dealing with a Loan Shark.

Over on Facebook there is the stoploansharksproject and the Illegal Money Lending Team can be contacted via Twitter – @loansharknews

Loan Shark Week of Action will run from  Monday 3rd March through to Friday 7th, here’s a guide to what’s on….

  • Monday 3rd: The official launch is at 10am, at the Sunshine Cafe in Sale West Community Centre. The local press will be there, along with other partners from the Loan Shark week of action team.
  • Tuesday 4th: The morning will see Sid the Shark visiting Firs Primary School for morning assembly. In the afternoon Sid will swim over to Woodheys Primary School before relaxing for the evening:) The children at both schools will be encouraged to take part in a poster competition, with a prize for the winner:)
  • Tuesday 4th – Evening: Between 5pm and 7pm there will be a Loan Shark Stand at the Nisa Store on Manor avenue, where partners will be on-hand to offer advice.
  • Wednesday 5th: The Loan Shark Stand, along with partners offering advice, will be situated at the Tesco Store/Petrol Station on Manor Road between 5pm and 7pm.
  • Thursday 6th: In the afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm, the Loan Shark Stand will be at Firsway Health Centre before moving to the Co-Op on Ashton Village between 5pm and 7pm.
  • Friday 7th: Loan Shark week of action will end with the Loan Shark Stand and partners spending the afternoon, between 2pm and 4pm, at Bodmin Road Health Centre.


There will be a questionnaire circulated throughout Sale West during the week too, including information on the local Credit Union and how to access the service.


For more information on the Credit Union and how it works see my previous article: Sale West Credit Union – The smart way to save.


Inspector Laura Burgess from Trafford South Integrated Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The activities of these individuals [loan sharks] can cause misery among communities. We are pleased to be working with partner agencies to tackle this problem. I urge Sale West residents to contact the telephone number which will be displayed on banners and posters if the wish to discuss this issue.”

Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured over 300 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 190 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off just under £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.

Head of the National Illegal Money Lending Team Tony Quigley said: “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities. These criminals are motivated by greed and have been known to use the worst kind of bully tactics to force people to pay back over the odds. We would urge anyone who is the victim of an illegal lender to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. Calls are answered 24/7 by a trained investigator.”

Here is a short video where the victim of a Loan Shark talks about her experience….


I’ll sign off with a couple of facts about loan sharks, and the various places you can contact for help and advice. Don’t suffer in silence and please don’t struggle alone….

  • The highest interest charged by a loan shark was calculated at 131,000% APR…
  • Debts to a loan shark can not be legally enforced – once they’ve been caught you are under no legal obligate to repay.

There are several ways to report a loan shark, here’s a few…

  1. Call the 24/7 confidential hotline number 0300 555 2222
  2. Texting ‘loan shark and your message’ to 60003
  3. Email
  4. Log onto
  5. Via Facebook – stoploansharkproject

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Loan sharks and the spiral of debt

Here’s a true story about a lady whose life has been dramatically affected by Loan sharks. Please take 5 minutes to read her story and if  you, or someone you know, are experiencing similar problems there’s a helpline number and advice below.



Pauline* from Salford took out her first loan with a loan shark in the run up to Christmas, after her husband was involved in a car accident. With only her wages, it was a struggle to get by. The loan shark was friendly, he was helpful, there was a bit of interest- £210 back for borrowing £150, but the loan was repaid no problem. Following this Pauline went out to take out more loans and the debt began to spiral.

Every time she began to fall into difficulties, the loan shark would suggest she took out another larger loan to pay off the first. He never gave her any paperwork, so she quickly lost track of how much she was paying. In time all of her money was going back to the loan shark and she was left with nothing. She began to fall behind on mortgage repayments as she felt she had to choose between the house and him.

As she struggled to repay she saw another side to the man who’d been so kind before- she now knew he wasn’t a legitimate lender. The loan shark, a former boxer, would turn up at her home, late at night demanding repayment and threatening to take her belongings.

He came to her work on a number of occasions and would ring to say he was outside. When Pauline said she couldn’t leave he threatened to tell her boss about the trouble she was in. As far as Pauline knew he never did but the fear of people knowing and the intimidation was enough, and Pauline would stay at work late until she knew he had left.

Pauline hadn’t told her husband about the loans – she didn’t want him worrying. The loan shark knew Pauline wouldn’t want her husband finding out so to make life difficult for her he took all the TV and DVD remotes when visiting her home, posting them back a few days later.

On one visit the loan shark, stood in her front room and asked unsettling questions about her family, unnerved by what he was capable of, she took all the pictures of her children and grandchildren down from the mantelpiece.



On another, he told her not to let her dogs out in the garden, as they wouldn’t come back. Pauline was terrified, she took this as a threat that her pets would be harmed, and also released he had been watching her home.


The final straw was when the loan shark turned up at her home with two well built men. He held her by the throat against the wall and forced her to hand over her wedding ring, telling her she didn’t deserve luxuries.

The fear and worry took its toll on Pauline, she couldn’t sleep and became ill. She turned to drink and as a result ended up taking time off work. During the ordeal she suffered a heart attack, which she puts down to the stress and worry.

For a long time she was constantly looking over her shoulder, afraid to even go to work alone. When she told her husband, it put a great pressure on their relationship.

The loan shark was reported to the England Illegal Money Lending Team, sentenced to four years in prison, and ordered to pay back almost £270,000 in ill gotten gains. Pauline was one of nearly 900 ‘customers’ to his criminal enterprise. As the loans were illegal, Pauline and his other customers were under no legal obligation to repay.

Having paid back fifteen times the amount she had borrowed, Pauline was relieved to see him behind bars and could begin to rebuild her life.  The team provided continued emotional support and referred her to other partner agencies to ensure that she wouldn’t loose her home following late payments on her mortgage.


It is only now that Pauline feels comfortable telling her story, and would encourage anyone else to avoid loan sharks at all costs.

If you think you may be the victim of a loan shark, please contact the team in confidence, as they can help you get back on your feet, just like Pauline.


*Name has been changed.

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