WEST Yorkshire Trading Standards officers are working to clamp down on illegal money lending this Christmas.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team, working in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards, are carrying out enforcement action, awareness raising and educating people to put an end to the callous crime.
They want the public to celebrate the season without turning to an illegal money lender.
David Lodge, Divisional Manager at West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “We echo the message that these criminals should always be avoided. They cause so much misery and harm to our communities.
“They leave people with mounting debt and living in fear of the deplorable tactics which loan sharks use.
“If you are struggling this Christmas there are plenty of places to turn for help, credit unions offer a place to save, and can provide safe and legal loans.”
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “No matter how much you are struggling financially, loan sharks are not the answer.
“They are motivated only by their own greed and are not offering you a service. These criminals should always be avoided at all costs.
“They could easily ruin your Christmas and you could be subjected to years of harassment, paying back your loan several times over”.
Victims of loan sharks can get help in confidence by calling 0300 555 2222.