Skip to content

Loans sharks ‘known to operate’ in Runcorn area prompting art trail campaign

An aerial view of Phoenix Park in Runcorn. (Google Earth)

An outdoor art trail is to be created to raise awareness about the dangers of loan sharks in a Runcorn neighborhood where illegal lenders are “known to operate”.

Project backers the England Illegal Money Lending Team said the paintings will depict a range of sharks such as great white, hammerhead, basking and the “loan shark”.

The initiative has been undertaken as a collaboration between Creative Health Initiatives (CHI), the IMLT, Cheshire Constabulary and Halton Borough Council.

An IMLT spokeswoman said the “stunning” artworks have been created by young people around Halton with support from graffiti artist Alex Taylor.

Families are encouraged to take part in the #SharksInPhoenixPark art trail competition, which is being launched on Saturday, May 21.

Visitors to the park are invited to explore the area and follow clues by matching names to the right numbers to discover the sharks’ locations.

Along their journey they can complete a puzzle on their entry form to be entered into a price draw with prizes up for grabs including restaurant and shopping vouchers.

Competition entry forms are available from CHI café at Phoenix Park or visit the Stop Loan Sharks website to download an electronic copy.

[![NEWSLETTER-Image-Link-for-Articles-5](https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/iya-news-prod.inyourarea.co.uk/2020/09/1million.png)](https://www.inyourarea.co.uk /newsletter)

Forms must be completed and returned to the café by 4pm on Thursday, June 30.

Alternatively email them directly to the Stop Loan Sharks team at partner@stoploansharks.gov.uk.

A loan shark is someone who lends money illegally without proper authorization

from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The IMLT spokeswoman said: “Loan sharks are illegal, immoral and unauthorized.

“These criminals prey on the most vulnerable in society, charging extortionate interest on loans and using intimidation and violence to pressure their victims into paying.

“The IMLT is a dedicated team of specialists that are leading the fight against loan sharks and supporting their victims.

“They have helped fund the project using thousands of pounds of criminals’ ill-gotten gains.”

Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT. (NottinghamPost)

Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT, said: “Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable people and blight our communities.

“They trap their victims into spiraling levels of debt and in the most extreme cases will use intimidation, threats and even violence to force them to pay up.

“This project sends out a strong message that loan sharks are not welcome in Halton and educates the public on how to protect themselves from this predatory crime.

“It also increases awareness in the community and allows us to build

relationships with residents, providing them with free information about safer

ways of borrowing money through Halton Credit Union.

“This helps us put loan sharks out of business for good.”

Phil Thornton, CHI director, said: “We were delighted to be awarded funding from the IMLT to create this fun and interactive educational art trail for families on the subject of illegal money lending.

“Our café is in an area where loan sharks are known to operate, and this project makes a difference to our community by educating people about the dangers of illegal lending and where to go for support.

“We hope families will join us for the launch where there will be light refreshments provided and lots of fun to be had.”

Trail explorers can share their photos on social media using the hashtag #SharksInPhoenixPark.

More information about the competition can be found at stoploansharks.co.uk.

Read more news from Runcorn, Cheshire, here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.