A mural warning families about the dangers of using loan sharks has been unveiled in Blackpool.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a specialist unit that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – has been working with Great Places tenants and local artist Shane Johnstone to create a fish themed mural warning others against borrowing from loan sharks.
The mural project - funded using £5,000 of proceeds of crime money – highlights the dangers of using loan sharks and the help and support available to victims.
The mural appears on the side of Talbot and Brunswick Sports Barn; it features the IMLT 24-hour helpline number (0300 555 2222) and website (www.stoploansharks.co.uk). Victims and worried family members can call the team anonymously or in confidence to report a loan shark.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable communities and fleece their victims out of hard earned cash, often through intimidation and violence.
"The mural project has been a real success; the artwork aims to help residents who are in the clutches of a loan shark to come forward and report. We’d urge residents to only borrow from safe and ethical lenders, such as credit unions, and not turn to unscrupulous loan sharks.”
Katherine Michaels, Community Development Co-ordinator at Great Places, said:
“We’re delighted to unveil the finished mural and hope it will make a great difference in Blackpool to tackle the issue of loan sharking.
“The IMLT hotline number is now on display for all to see, with the team being available 24/7, 365 days a year. We hope that through taking a creative approach to this awareness campaign, we can really engage people to learn more about this issue, and make use of the fantastic resources available that offer safe and affordable loans, such as local credit unions."