fishing industry illegal money lenders

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is warning fishing industry workers on the dangers of illegal money lenders

Fishing industry workers facing financial challenges are being warned to beware of illegal money lenders offering to help them out with loans.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is reaching out to those within the industry to let them know help is available if they are feeling the pinch or have found themselves in debt to an illegal lender.

Tony Quigley, head of the England IMLT, also known as Stop Loan Sharks, said: “A lot of fishermen are self-employed – one week they could earn £2,000 but the next week it might be £100 so budgeting is difficult and it’s hard to save, especially when you have several bad weeks in a row.

“There are illegal lenders operating in all communities across the country – they are not confined to big cities. They will target any place or industry where people may be facing financial difficulties and take advantage of those people when they are at their most vulnerable.

“The fishing industry is one where workers may be facing financial pressures and we are concerned that illegal lenders may target them as a result, as we know they have done in the past.”

In one case dealt with by the IMLT, a fisherman was threatened with violence after taking out a loan with an illegal lender. He needed money for a vehicle and, partly because of his unpredictable income, had found it difficult to get credit through mainstream channels.

The IMLT’s LIAISE officers stepped in to support the borrower and helped him get his life back on track. The illegal lender was prosecuted and given a suspended jail sentence due to health issues.

Tony added: “Often these lenders will pretend to be doing people a favour – this isn’t the case. Because they don’t have the correct authorisation, borrowers have no protection, and the lender can make up the rules – charging high interest rates and ultimately turning to threats and even violence to make people pay.

“We want to make sure anyone who is potentially vulnerable knows what their options are and where they can turn for help. Anyone who thinks they may have been targeted by an illegal money lender can call our specialist officers for help and advice in complete confidence.

And if someone does need to borrow money, credit unions a safe way of borrowing for those who may not be able to access credit through mainstream channels.”

Commsave Credit Union offers safe savings and low-cost loan facilities to those working in the UK fishing industry.

Chief executive officer Dominic Masterson said: “We’re proud to play a part in supporting the financial wellbeing of fishermen all over the UK. We recognise the challenges that many people face due to fluctuating income and challenges in accessing traditional mainstream services.

“We’re keen for those working in the industry to know that they have access to a safe and affordable source of credit – whether it’s for larger purchases like boat repairs or new equipment – or just simple things like items for the home – as well as a place to put away some savings to help deal with the times when money may not be coming in.”

There are approximately 1.08 million people currently in debt to illegal money lenders in England, according to figures from the Centre for Social Justice.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the England IMLT, which was set up to investigate and prosecute loan sharks and support borrowers. Since its launch, the team has supported over 31,500 people and written off over £91.2 million worth of illegal debt, securing over 416 prosecutions for illegal money lending, leading to 598 years in jail.

Anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending should call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 confidential Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

There are similar teams that cover other parts of the UK:

In Wales you should contact the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit – https://stoploansharkswales.co.uk/– on 0300 123 3311.

In Scotland you should contact the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit – https://stopillegallending.co.uk/ – on 0800 074 0878.

In Northern Ireland contact the Trading Standards Consumerline http://www.consumerline.org/on 0300 123 6262.

 

Source: Press Release

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