DEBT levels in Blackburn are rising and above the national average, says a charity helping families with financial problems reveal.

Figures from the StepChange Debt Charity show that the average unsecured debt level of people in the town contacting its helpline was on course to rise for 2012.

For the first nine months of last year, its average client in Blackburn owed £17,018. In 2011, the average owed was £16,406.

The rise in the average debt levels of Blackburn stands in contrast to the UK trend of falling debt levels and the national average of £15,995.

In the first three-quarters of 2012, StepChange Debt Charity advised 662 people in Blackburn regarding their debt problems. In 2011 that number was 778.

The charity is now warning consumers over the dangers of debt consolidation, and recommending the benefits of debt management.

It is urging anyone struggling to seek its help to draw up a detailed household budget and viable debt management solution.