Blackpool puts the bite on loan sharks

An afternoon of entertainment on Waterloo Road in South Shore carried the serious message warning against using loan sharks.The High Sheriff of Lancashire John Barnett (left) joins the Social Enterprise Solutions campaign on Blackpool beach.  PIC BY ROB LOCK25-3-2017

An afternoon of entertainment on Waterloo Road in South Shore carried the serious message warning against using loan sharks.The High Sheriff of Lancashire John Barnett (left) joins the Social Enterprise Solutions campaign on Blackpool beach. PIC BY ROB LOCK25-3-2017

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Residents were given a warning – beware of sharks at South Beach!

But despite there being a 15ft long “shark” in the area, the real predators being warned about were loan sharks.

An afternoon of entertainment on Waterloo Road in South Shore carried the serious message warning against using loan sharks.Punch and Judy man Martin Scott-Price having trouble with his own shark.  PIC BY ROB LOCK25-3-2017

An afternoon of entertainment on Waterloo Road in South Shore carried the serious message warning against using loan sharks.Punch and Judy man Martin Scott-Price having trouble with his own shark. PIC BY ROB LOCK25-3-2017

The day of fun and information was staged by Social Enterprise Solutions using proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted loan sharks.

The centre-piece was a specially-commissioned 15-foot shark in the sea, near south pier. Meanwhile, on Waterloo Road a free shark-themed craft event took place along with seaside entertainment, including Punch and Judy.

Experts were on hand at the fun day to explain more about how the loan sharks operate and signpost local residents to the legal alternatives available, such as getting information from Citizen’s Advice or borrowing from Blackpool’s Credit Union.

Loan sharks often operate under the radar, lending money to victims and charging extortionate rates of interest.

Social Enterprise Solutions team based at Blackpool Enterprise Centre on Lytham Road, worked with England’s Illegal Money Lending Team.

Social Enterprise Solutions managing director, Tony Carr, said: “Illegal money lending is a serious problem and we tackled it in a fun way so that the message got across.

“There are lots of ways people can get help with money without resorting to borrowing from loan sharks. In Blackpool, Citizen’s Advice on Whitegate Drive has a range of services to help those in debt.”

Tony Quigley, from the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities, making life a misery for their victims.

“Through events like this, we are able to use proceeds of crime money to fund something positive and help to prevent these criminals from operating in the future.

“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, we urge you to get in touch with us on 0300 555 2222. Victims can remain anonymous or can speak to us in confidence.

“If you are not keen speaking over the phone, victims can also report a loan shark via our website at www.stoploansharks.uk”