Middlesbrough communities bid for loan shark money
People in Middlesbrough are being given the chance to bid for cash which has been confiscated from loan sharks.
A scheme being piloted in the town, is giving residents a say in how money extorted from illegal money lenders can be spent in improving their community.
Proceeds of crime money totalling £3,000 will be ploughed back into as many projects in the area as possible.
Anyone from local residents and charities, to schools and voluntary groups, can apply for the cash.
The money can be spent on any community project related to raising awareness of loan sharks or reducing crime and disorder in the local area.
Middlesbrough councillor Julia Rostron, said: "Domestic budgets are under unprecedented pressure and that creates easy prey for the local sharks.
"But it's reassuring to know that the fight is being taken to them and that they are being deprived of their ill-gotten gains.
"Better still, that money is being put to good use, helping to reduce crime and alert others to the dangers posed by doorstep lenders."
The 'U Choose' scheme by the England Illegal Money Lending Team is in partnership with West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust and Middlesbrough Council.
Applicants have until Friday 21 October to place their bids.