STAFF at the job centre in St Leonards have been pioneering a national scheme to spot people who are in trouble with loan sharks.
Frontline workers at the Heron House office have been trained to recognise the signs of illegal money lending, with about 300,000 UK households using loan sharks every year, with a particular issue around the Christmas period. The success of the scheme here in 1066 Country means the programme will now be rolled out across the country.
The Government has also pledged more than £8 million to fund specialist units who target loan sharks.
Tony Quigley, of Trading Standards, said: “Once loan sharks have trapped their victims in a spiral of debt they will resort to any methods, including threats and violence, to reclaim their cash.
“We’ve even heard reports of loan sharks waiting for claimants outside Jobcentre Plus offices, so it’s important we do all we can to help protect vulnerable people.
“We would urge anyone who is involved with an illegal lender or knows someone who is to contact us in confidence,” he added.
Anyone with concerns can call 0300 5552222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report a problem.