Middlesbrough projects benefit from 'loan shark' cash

Community projects in Middlesbrough have been given money from £3,000 of cash confiscated from "loan sharks".

The U choose initiative gave residents the chance to say how money extorted from illegal money lenders could be spent in their community.

Altogether 12 winners were chosen by residents after 23 local groups showcased their ideas in a bid to get some of the cash.

The winning projects were awarded £250 each from the £3,000 of crime money.

The projects had to help in raising awareness of illegal money lending or reducing crime and disorder in the local area.

'Good use'

Some of the winning projects included teaching young people to save their money rather than borrow, producing a music video about illegal money lending, and an evening of discussion with a crime prevention officer.

Middlesbrough councillor Julia Rostron, said: "Loan sharks are on the look-out for easy prey, and people can be vulnerable when money's tight.

"But the authorities are taking action against those who break the law and they are being deprived of their ill-gotten gains.

"It's fitting that the money should be put to good use, helping to reduce crime and alerting others to the dangers posed by illegal money lenders."

The U Choose scheme by the England Illegal Money Lending Team is in partnership with West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust and Middlesbrough Council.

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