Cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks has been awarded to a Lancashire charity to help fund a community project which will assist in raising awareness of the dangers of borrowing money.

Lancashire Women, the leading charity for women and girls in Lancashire, has been awarded £2,500 after the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks – reopened their national proceeds of crime funding scheme back in April.

Charities, schools and organisations across the county were given the opportunity to bid for up to £5,000 of funding as long as their project met the IMLT’s criteria.

Head of programme for employment, advice and guidance at Lancashire Women, Mandy Taylor, said: "Everyone could benefit from learning about loan sharks, as these are not always organisations, lending money and charging interest without being regulated is illegal these people pretend to be your friend until you cannot pay – learning the facts and the law can support everyone.

"Get in touch to know more or to speak to one of our qualified and experienced advisors on 0300 330 1354."

Lancashire Women will use the funding to integrate loan shark awareness into their group sessions and their money advice one-to-one work.

They already offer a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated debt counselling, and money advice appointments, offering a range of free services, which include benefit advice and applications; mandatory reconsideration and appeals; debt issues and options; back to work calculations; budgeting advice; and energy saving advice

Head of service for the England illegal money lending team, Tony Quigley said: “Through this scheme the cash extorted by loan sharks is being put to excellent use.

"Thanks to everyone who voted or entered a bid- you have contributed to making a difference and tackling this crime in your community.

"Loan sharks are a scourge on society and cause harm and misery to their victims, but we are continuing to tackle them across the country.

"We would always urge victims of illegal money lenders to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 555 2222."