Beware lure of "uncompromising" loan sharks in Whaddon this Christmas
LOAN sharks are circling Whaddon looking to exploit cash-strapped residents.
That is the warning from community leaders, who are calling on people to steer clear of the unlicensed lenders in the run-up to Christmas.
They say borrowing from such shady sources can have dire financial consequences – with extortionate interest rates and aggressive repayment schemes piling on the misery for those who are lured in.
The loan sharks, who often operate door-to-door, have been known to use strong-arm tactics and physical intimidation to get their money back.
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One man from the area, who asked not to be named, said he had suffered a bad experience at the hands of the lenders.
"It can make your life a living hell," he said. "I borrowed some money for a quick fix but the repayments soon piled up.
"I found myself having to take another loan to pay off the first one, putting me further in debt.
"It caused me a lot of stress and I found the man who gave me the loan quite uncompromising when he came knocking to get his money back.
"It was not a good experience."
Bosses at the Whaddon, Lynworth and Prior's Neighbourhood Project say the spectre of loan sharks can rear its ugly head at this time of year as people crave a bit of extra cash ahead of the festive season.
Project manager Anna Reeves said: "The problem is that these people often seem very friendly and claim they are there to help out.
"But people who rely on them can end up in serious financial trouble if they are not careful."
She encouraged residents to demand identification from anyone posing as a loan shark.
And extra debt advice sessions are being run at Oakley Resource Centre, in Clyde Crescent, offering people sound tips on managing their finances.
As well as drop-in sessions with qualified financial advisor Garry Mills every Wednesday morning, from November 15 there will be alternative sessions on Thursdays.
Anna added: "People are welcome to drop in if they have any concerns about their financial situation.
"We can have an initial chat and then arrange for them to see one of our financial advisors.
"It's always a better idea to do that than go to a loan shark and it can provide people with a sound financial footing from which to move forward."
To book an appointment with a financial advisor call the centre on 01242 516960.