Warning: loan sharks preying on families over Christmas

A small loan over Christmas could quickly escalate out of control Credit: Press Association Images

People in Reading are being warned not to take loans out from illegal money lenders in the run-up to Christmas.

Reading Borough Council is reminding people that many loan sharks resort to threats and violence.

The council is advising anyone who is facing financial hardship to get in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau for free advice.

Don't get bitten this Christmas. These unscrupulous sharks prey on the most vulnerable in society. No matter how much you are struggling financially, loan sharks are never the answer.

I urge people in desperate situations to speak to their local Citizen's Advice Bureau for advice, rather than getting themselves into deep water with a rogue lender.

The message to these sharks is - we are closing the net in on you and we will not tolerate this callous and manipulative crime in our town. Help us bite back against loan sharks! Remember, you can report these criminals in the strictest confidence and action will be taken."

– Paul Gittings, Lead Councillor for Consumer Services