Tyne And Wear Writer Wins National Short Story Competition

David Graham, a Sci-fi and Fantasy writer, blogger and photographer from Gateshead, has won a national story writing competition warning readers of the dangers of getting involved with a loan shark.

David’s poem “The Loan Shark” is one of seven winning entries in the Stop Loan Sharks Short Story Competition, run by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).

It has been released as part of the Stop Loan Sharks Week Christmas Campaign, #SharkFreeSurfing, urging people to avoid online loan sharks and get advice and support if they have fallen victim to illegal money lending.

Drawing on his creative background as a freelance photographer and writer, David wrote “The Loan Shark” – a poem that tells of a borrower’s journey through the eyes of the illegal lender.

David said: “I wrote this poem because I felt it was a great way to help contribute to raising awareness for what is such an important cause, especially in the present environment.

“Loan sharks will be in their element right now, so it’s more important than ever to let people know that organisations like the Illegal Money Lending Team exist and that they can help. Hopefully my poem along with the other competition winners can help play a part in doing just that.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We would like to congratulate David Graham for his winning entry for the Stop Loan Sharks Short Story Competition.

“David’s poem highlights how loan sharks will appear friendly at first but will quickly resort to intimidation, threats or violence to enforce repayment and trap borrowers in a spiral of debt.

“We would urge anyone who is suffering at the hands of unscrupulous money lenders, or anyone who has concerns that a friend or loved one may be in danger to contact us. Our officers and a range of support agencies are here to help, you are not alone.”

A loan shark is someone who lends without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. They rarely give paperwork, can often charge extreme amounts of interest and may intimidate or threaten people if they can’t repay.

The Loan Shark

Written by David Graham

WARNING: This poem contains explicit language.

I won’t tell you in the beginning,

but take a loan from me,

and you’ll never be free,

for your debt will keep rising exponentially,

miss a payment,

and I’ll be at your door,

miss two,

and you’ll be out cold on the floor,

miss three,

and I’ll sell you out as a whore,

miss four,

and my friend you’ll not be living any more, don’t you see,

there is no escaping me,

you can’t run,

you can’t hide,

there is no one in which

you can confide,

your friends can’t help,

your family can’t help

the police can’t help,

or at least that’s what

I’ll make you believe,

for don’t you see it’s

my job to deceive,

yes, need some money,

then I’m the man to see,

but take the money,

and you’ll never be free,

but I won’t tell you this,

oh no I won’t,

to start I’ll be your only friend,

I’ll be your only hope,

when the banks won’t give you anymore,

I’ll swing open my vault’s door,

because I’m a loan shark,

and until you’ve taken my money,

you won’t see my bark,

but once you do,

let me tell you

you will be mine.

To report a loan shark, call the 24 hour helpline on 0300 555 2222, email the team at reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or visit www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live chat is available on the website 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.