Hutton pledges shark attack

As a Governmental move to improve financial inclusion, specialist teams across England, Wales and Scotland have received funding of almost £3 million to hunt down loan sharks.

Research has shown that since 2006 these projects have helped around 45,000 people with debt problems and recruited over 500 new debt advisors.

Hutton said: "Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable and desperate people. We are committed to shutting these thugs down and bringing them to justice.

"Our targeted teams will make sure anyone who feels trapped or scared has the confidence to report these crooks and put a stop to their illegal behaviour.”

The crackdown follows the success of pilot anti-loan shark teams in Birmingham and Glasgow, staffed by specialist Trading Standards officers working closely with the police. Since September 2004 these teams have identified more than 200 illegal lenders and shut down loan books worth more than £3million.

Economic Secretary to HM Treasury Kitty added: "This crackdown sends a clear message that these practices are unacceptable and will not be tolerated, and ensures that the victims of loan sharks have the advice and support they need."