A THEATRE group visited eight Worcestershire secondary schools this week to deliver drama workshops to students on the dangers of loan sharks.
Over 1000 students from years 7, 8 and 9 were given life lessons on responsible lending and the importance of avoiding loan sharks in adult life.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a specialist unit that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – have been working with White Socks Theatre to deliver a series of drama workshops to schools in Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Redditch and Worcester.
Students took part in an interactive workshop which used live actors to educate them on the risks of borrowing from loan sharks, in the hope that they will share what they have learnt with families and turn away from these criminals in later life.
The project was funded using over £4,000 of proceeds of crime money. This available amount has come from loan sharks’ cash that has been seized by the courts under money laundering laws.
Students are set to learn more about safer borrowing and lending in their PSHE lessons.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“Loan sharks are a blight on our communities and prey on vulnerable families who struggle to make ends meet. It is important to give students an understanding of the dangers of loan sharks from an early age so they know to avoid these criminals in later life. The workshops highlighted the impact that this crime has on victims and how a small loan can quickly trap people into spiralling debt.
“If you or someone you know have been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to come forward and report to us on 0300 555 2222 – all calls are strictly confidential. For more information on how our team can help you, visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
White Socks Theatre performed ‘Borrowed Time’ – a play about the dangers of loan sharks to students during the one-hour workshops.
Jimmy Bates, Creative Director at White Socks Theatre, said:
“We have enjoyed working with the Illegal Money Lending Team and schools in Worcestershire to deliver these interactive sessions to young people to educate them on the dangers of using loan sharks.
“Borrowed Time is an interactive theatre presentation developed by White Socks Theatre. It highlights the risks of using loan sharks and where to seek help if you have been bitten. The show follows the lives of fictional characters “Andy” and “Lisa” who are both victims of loan sharks. Using theatre and active discussion, pupils were able to see how easy it is to fall victim to a loan shark and the devastating consequences that can follow.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 people.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject