A CAMPAIGN to protect families from loan sharks has been launched in Tendring.

The Reaching Families Campaign has been set up by the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

The initiative, which has been backed by Tendring Council, is aimed at turning people away from loan sharks and to report if they have been a victim.

As part of the scheme, the council will be promoting the Colchester Credit Union as a safe and legal alternative for people across the district.

Paul Honeywood, cabinet member for housing and benefits, said loan sharks usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap borrowers into spiralling debt, which is enforced by violence and intimidation.

“It concerns me greatly that these loan sharks target the most vulnerable families in our community,” he said.

“This is one of the main reasons why we recently launched the access points for the Credit Union in Clacton and Harwich.

“Help and advice is available if needed, and loan sharks need to be reported at every opportunity.”

The credit union access points are open every Thursday morning between 10am and 12noon at Clacton Town Hall and at JobCentre Plus in Harwich.

To report a loan shark in confidence call the hotline on 0300 555 2222 or text ‘loan shark’ plus your message to 60003.