More than one million people in England are currently in debt to a loan shark. Illegal lenders are increasingly operating online, using the rapidly evolving social media landscape to entice and exploit new victims.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Thank you to this talented group of young minds who have dedicated their time to creating a powerful digital project aimed at exposing the dangers of illegal money lenders.
“Their creativity and passion will help others to recognise the risks, prevent illegal money lending, and help steer people towards our organisation should they need any help or support, which is invaluable.
“If you, or anyone you know, has experienced any of these things or has any knowledge of loan shark activities, then please contact our team in complete confidence.”
Two suspected loan sharks were arrested in Wigan in February 2023 thanks to the Illegal Money Lending Team (Stop Loan Sharks).
They recommend borrowing with a local credit union instead – something the young reporters have also been helping to promote.
Kirsty Day, project lead for Media Cubs, said: “Our reporters have done a fantastic job of spreading such a vital message while learning some new media skills along the way, such as camera work, presenting, and animation, which has been excellent to see the development of.
“Young people know best about how to communicate with other young people, and they have definitely used this project as a force for good!”