Groups urged to bid for share of loan sharks’ confiscated cash
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Cash seized from loan sharks is once again up for grabs in the latest round of funding from the Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund.
Community organisations, charities and groups are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT). Collaborative bids between multiple agencies are also welcome.
In order to qualify, projects must raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, reduce crime and disorder and have a positive impact on communities.
Projects previously funded have included graffiti murals, art therapy sessions for vulnerable adults and drama performances in schools highlighting the dangers of dealing with loan sharks.
The IMLT has spent around £774,000 of proceeds of crime money on crime-fighting initiatives over the last three years.
The funding comes from money seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We encourage groups to come forward and apply for funding to help stamp out illegal money lenders.
“The money seized through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is reinvested back into communities through projects aimed at tackling loan sharks and supporting victims.
“We are very much aware of the devastating impact loan sharks have on families and communities and we’re determined to do all we can to eradicate them. Our financial investigators have continued to ensure that loan sharks don’t profit from their crimes and are not able to continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We urge anyone with information about illegal money lending to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access safe and confidential support via Live Chat on our website.”