AN initiative to help victims of loan sharks “bite back” took place at Hope Central in Malton last week.

Yorkshire Housing teamed up

with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) and Community First Savings and Loans Credit Union to organise the event to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.

Residents dropped in to get help, support and advice, and they also had the chance open a savings account, which will benefit from

money seized from convicted loan sharks.

Tony Quigley, of the IMLT, said: “Officers at our events can offer free and confidential advice on the next steps to take if you think you have been targeted by loan sharks. You can also report illegal lenders in confidence on our 24-hour hotline 0300 555 2222.”

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who target people when they are at their most vulnerable. They often target people during the Christmas period, when money may be tight.

Victoria Cordingley, of Yorkshire Housing, said: “What can seem like an affordable, easily accessible loan can quickly spiral out of control.

“We want people to know what the risks are with loan sharks, what alternatives there are for managing their finances, and how they can avoid being exploited.”

“If any Yorkshire Housing customers are struggling to make ends meet then our benefit and money advice team is here to offer support and help you take back control of your finances.”

Yorkshire Housing customers can contact the benefit and money advice team by phoning 0345 366 4404.