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200 people could owe money to loan sharks in Lincoln's St Giles estate

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 10, 2012

  • Chris Wells, right, from the City of Lincoln Council, and Kelly Marson, volunteer for the Neighbourhood North team, door knock houses in the St Giles estate, Lincoln, to ask residents if they are having problems with loan sharks.

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Up to 200 people could owe thousands of pounds to two illegal loan sharks operating on the St Giles estate in Lincoln.

The National Illegal Money Lending Team has intelligence about two suspected unlicensed lenders who are charging extortionate interest.

One investigator said: "We have intelligence that there's two potential loan sharks and they could have ten to 100 customers each.

"A typical loan is at least £300 to £500. We worked out the highest APR ever charged by a loan shark was 131,000 per cent. What we don't have in Lincoln is hard evidence because people are afraid of repercussions.

"We need people contact us, which they can do in confidence. All we need is one statement to get a warrant and we do prosecute."

The national team, neighbourhood officers, the CAB, trading standards and Lincolnshire Credit Union, are door-knocking the streets to raise awareness and gather intelligence about loan sharks.

Community caretaker Chris Wells said she is aware of some disturbing cases.

"I know of one case where a mother has taken out loans in the names of relatives and a daughter is getting threatening texts," she said.

"I think with people seeing their benefits sanctioned for signing on time there'll be more people turning to loan sharks. One man I know had his benefits sanctioned for six months. He had had strokes and did not know about the medicals he had to attend.

"People who are losing their benefits are probably not going to go out robbing so where are they going to get money from?"

Mum-of-three Natalie Wood, 22, of Browning Drive, St Giles, said: "I'm not surprised people are using loan sharks because the cost of living is sky-high, but I think people are too frightened to say anything."

Half of the £1,200 cost of a graffiti mural in Swift Gardens is being met with cash seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The artwork depicts why borrowing from loan sharks is a bad idea, while raising the profile of credit unions.

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  • Adrian1208  |  September 12 2012, 4:03AM

    People on this estate who can't get credit could always try Wonga.com

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  • Adrian1208  |  September 12 2012, 3:59AM

    These loan sharks should be named and shamed. They are praying on some of the poorest people in lincoln, many of these people are unable to get credit anywhere else. My advice to anybody caught up by these loan sharks need to report them, they will get all the help they need from the police.

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  September 11 2012, 9:44PM

    Come off it, FreedomSpeech. Are you seriously suggesting people should actually read the articles before expressing their righteous outrage? Note the first comment on the story about the woman banned from keeping animals for two years. The poster hopes the ban is for life. Unless, of course, they were hoping she dies soon ...

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  • FreedomSpeech  |  September 11 2012, 9:02PM

    "I can't believe how loan sharks are still allowed to operate legally,they're a blight on the commmunity" "Up to 200 people could owe thousands of pounds to two ILLEGAL loan sharks operating on the St Giles estate in Lincoln."

    Rate   2
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  • TomWhimpole  |  September 11 2012, 8:19PM

    Zzzz....

    Rate   -9
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  • gsx1100  |  September 11 2012, 8:09PM

    Boring, Tom_whimpole? no. Arrogant idiot, yes.

    Rate   2
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  • TomWhimpole  |  September 11 2012, 8:01PM

    Does anyone have their own opinion about the story or are just just going to bleat about mine? Boring...

    Rate   -6
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  • gsx1100  |  September 11 2012, 7:42PM

    People do have times of hardship InsideStory, but there is a smug minority who are too arrogant to believe it can happen to them.

    Rate   4
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  • InsideStory  |  September 11 2012, 7:01PM

    People who have periods of hardship no matter where they live resort to desperate measures to keep a roof over their heads and food in their belly's.Maybe one day you may resort to desperate measures yourself .

    Rate   5
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  • InsideStory  |  September 11 2012, 6:51PM

    Looks like we have a saint among us that goes to work which makes us all saints. Give the man a knighthood.

    Rate   7
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