Thousands in Wales fall victim to loan sharks

A BBC Wales report has highlighted that around 4,000 people in Wales have been victims of loan sharks over the last decade.

The figures come from the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU), which has identified around 300 loan sharks and taken many to court since it was set up in 2008.

The report on Eye on Wales speaks to an investigator from WIMLU who explained how difficult it is for victims to come forward, however, hopes that successful prosecutions will persuade people to speak out.

The investigator also cited the heart-breaking case of a Swansea mother who wanted to put her children into social services because her benefits income was being taken by a loan shark.

Speaking in response to the programme, Ann Francis General Manager of Cambrian Credit Union, based in North Wales and Powys, said: “Credit Unions are a good ethical alternative to high-cost borrowing.

“It is shocking to hear of the number of people who turn to illegal money lenders when there are credible alternatives. We understand that if you are in a desperate situation you do not always know where to turn.

“If you are in this situation or you need a small loan please contact your local credit union, you will find details at www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk or www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk. Alternatively, call into your local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit 24-hour hotline 0300 123 3311. We are here to help.”

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