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Loan shark kept £30k stuffed in pillowcases

A loan shark from Caerphilly kept £30,000 stuffed in pillow cases under his bed.

Loan shark: Gareth Jenkins kept £30,000 in pillowcases Credit: Cardiff Council

Gareth Jenkins, 63, from Caerphilly has been ordered to pay three victims £66,000 in compensation in a first for Wales's Illegal Money Lending Unit.

Jenkins was prosecuted for four offences of loan sharking over a 10 year period. When the unit raided Jenkins’ home, £30,000 was found stuffed in pillow cases under his bed with £61,000 recovered from two bank accounts.

“The Unit is very pleased with this result, as this is the first time we have been able to use seized assets to provide significant sums of money to compensate the victims directly."

– Stephen Grey, Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit

If anyone thinks that a loan shark is operating near them they're urged to call the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit on 0300 123 3311. All calls are confidential.

Legitimate financial advice available say government

Loan sharks are leading to distress, worry and the loss of more money says Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert. His comments come as part of the launch of the 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign.

The project aims to open up the debate around illegal money lenders and find solutions to the growing trend of people in Wales seeking financial help from loan sharks.

"Many people are facing tough times, especially after Christmas and as the full impact of the changes to welfare kick-in. However, no matter how difficult things become, our message is that no one should even consider the temptation of using loan sharks.

"Turning to these people only leads to distress, worry and ultimately the loss of more money. There is legitimate, reliable advice and affordable loans available for those who find themselves with money problems."

– Jeff Cuthbert, Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister

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Loan sharks 'use fear and intimidation' for business

A campaign launched between Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and the Wales Illegal Moneylending Unit (WIMLU) aims to find solutions to the problem of illegal money lenders.

"Many loan sharks have operated with impunity and used fear and intimidation to carry on their business. Our figures reveal that 75 per cent of people who use loan sharks are on benefits and 65 per cent of victims are women. We also find 40 per cent of victims have some form of mental or physical disability with a shocking 46 per cent considering the loan shark a friend."

– Stephen Grey, WIMLU

The campaign is being supported by The Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, Assembly Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert AM and Sian Williams of Toynbee Hall.

Illegal money lenders targeted by new campaign

Posters and videos have been released for the new campaign Credit: Dont Get Bitten campaign

The 'Don't Get Bitten' campaign launches today. It aims to combat the problem of illegal money lenders.

Across Wales there has been an increase in the number of people turning to illegal money lenders to help make ends meet.

Figures from the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) suggest a dramatic increase in the number of people in Wales turning to loan sharks. One case being investigated by WIMLU involves over 400 victims across South Wales.