Keep up to date with the latest news delivered direct to your Inbox.
VIDEO: Loan Shark To Cornish Families
6:28am 24th September 2014
(Updated 6:28am 24th September 2014)
It is feared Cornish famililes are being targeted by illegal loan sharks.
A crackdown is being launched amid fears some are being charged thousands of percent.
A national taskforce has told Pirate FM it has had a string of calls for help from the Duchy.
It is something Mike has been through. It started when he borrowed £250 for a car. He said: "It started off where I was just paying him £30 a week. The payments increased, because he wanted more. It went from £30 to £50 to £60 to £70. Then, because I was using the money to pay him instead of buying food, gas, electric, the rent - I had to borrow more money off him to pay them.
"He started to give threats saying that, if we didn't pay us, he was going to hit us or take stuff out of the house.
"He took the kids' Playstations, he took the car off us. There was one occasion where I was ill, laying on the settee, and he just started laying into me in front of the kids."
David Parker, Community Safety Officer with Cornwall Council said: “We know that loan sharks are currently operating in Cornwall, but we need to gather more intelligence to identify and ultimately prosecute loan sharks who make a living out of preying on the vulnerable.
"Loan sharks may initially appear to be your ‘friends’ and even live nearby, but they quickly turn to threatening and sometime violent behaviour when they are not paid. Safer Cornwall wants to help people avoid these unscrupulous individuals.
"We are calling on our partners, residents, people who have already borrowed money and are worried, and anyone who has information about the identity and activities of these individuals to get in contact and let us know.”
Loan sharks are people who lend money to others without authority and without the appropriate licence issued by the Office of Fair Trading. They rarely, if ever, give any paperwork and if payments are missed they often use intimidation and violence to get money from their ‘clients’.
David adds: “If you have been offered a cash loan; threatened when you couldn’t pay; had your bank card been taken from you as a security or, if what you owe keep growing even though you are making payments, then you may well have been bitten by a loan shark.
"If you, or anyone you know, has experienced any of these things or has any knowledge of loan shark activities then contact the Stop Loan Sharks team in complete confidence.”
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities said: “I would urge anyone who is experiencing serious financial difficulties to seek help and advice from experts, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, rather than resorting to loans from unknown people.”
If you have any information, however small, on loan shark activities contact Stop Loan Sharks on 0300 5552222.
If it is something you are worried about you can get help here.
Share This StoryTweet
WATCH: The Cornish Families Facing Fuel Poverty
Some people are having to choose between food or heat...
WATCH: The Weird Moment Thousands Of Birds Descend On A Cornish Village
It looks like something out of a horror film - but locals were horrified by the mess it left...
Three Men Plead 'Not Guilty' To St Austell Murder
Cornwall News: A man was found unconscious in a park
Royal Mail to increase stamp prices from next month
National News: The price of stamps is to increase next month, Royal Mail has announced.
Beyonce to miss Coachella festival 'on doctors' advice'
Showbiz News: Beyonce has pulled out of this year's Coachella festival following advice from her doctors.
At least 68 killed in bombings near town recaptured from Islamic State
World News: Two car bomb attacks near the northern Syrian town of al Bab have killed at least 68 people.
Ranieri defied 5,000-1 odds - but it wasn't enough for Leicester
Sports News: In Monte Carlo last week, Usain Bolt attempted the greatest sporting selfie of all time at the star-studded Laureus Awards.
Men and women 'need different things' to keep friendships alive
Strange News: Your ability to keep long-distance friendships alive may depend on your gender, according to a new study.