CRIMINALS’ money is to be given to residents who open a new credit union account.
Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks will be paid as a bonus to residents signing up for a new account and saving for 10 consecutive weeks.
The offer of a £10 bonus will be made to the first 50 people signing up for the scheme at an advice day being held tomorrow (THURSDAY) in Stanley, County Durham to help residents avoid falling prey to loan sharks.
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The event, organised by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Durham County Council Trading Standards and Prince Bishop Community Bank, will be held at The Store, in Front Street, from 10am to 1pm. Anyone wishing to open an account must bring along two forms of identification.
People dropping in to the event will be given a presentation on the dangers posed by loan sharks and the opportunity for free, confidential advice on reporting loan sharks, housing, debt, welfare benefits, legal issues and consumer problems.
More than 300,000 households across the country are estimated to borrow from illegal money lenders, who charge exorbitant rates of interest, force people into a spiral of debt and often resort to violence or intimidation to force repayments.
Lesley Richardson, manager of the Prince Bishops Community Bank, said "We want people to know there is an alternative to loan sharks".
Tony Quigley Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: We are cracking down on unlicensed lenders who make people's lives a misery, and using the profits they have made illegally to help others avoid falling into this trap".
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