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Failsworth transport firm helps in fight against loan sharks

A locally-based community transport company is getting on board with the fight against loan sharks, helping to raising awareness and displaying flyers on its fleet of vehicles.

AFJ Ltd, which provides home to school and patient transport services, is working in partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to warn passengers and other residents about the dangers of loan sharks.

The company, which has depots in Failsworth and also in Nechells, Birmingham, provides community transport across the Greater Birmingham and North West regions.

Employees of the firm took part in a door-to-door leaflet campaign warning residents to avoid borrowing from loan sharks and promoting safer legal alternatives.

The company’s drivers, passenger assistants and ambulance care assistants also handed leaflets to those using the buses and ambulances and will continue in the coming weeks.

A static vinyl also features on the outside of the company’s vehicles to spread awareness on the loan shark issue.

Pooja Sharma, AFJ’s head of business development, said: “In a significant step towards eradicating illegal money lending practices, AFJ Limited is proud to announce its partnership with Stop Loan Sharks.

“I am thrilled to be part of this collaboration, aimed at fostering financial wellbeing and protecting individuals from the harmful impact of illegal loan activities.

“Our shared commitment to ethical lending practices aligns seamlessly with Stop Loan Sharks’ mission to educate and empower communities against the threats posed by loan sharks.

“Together, we will work tirelessly to raise awareness about the risks associated with illegal money lending and provide support to those who may have fallen victim to such practices.”

Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT, said: “Having a company like AFJ working with us to raise awareness like this is fantastic.

“These flyers will be seen by hundreds of passengers as well as other road users and will help spread our message far and wide that illegal lending will not be tolerated.

“Illegal lenders make life a misery for the most vulnerable in society.

“We are here to stop them and our specialist officers are on hand 24 hours a day to support borrowers.

“We are so grateful to the team at AFJ for their commitment to helping us tackle the scourge of illegal lending and protect our communities.”

Pooja added: “Our collective goal is to create a community where individuals can access fair and transparent financial services without the fear of exploitation.

“As we embark on this journey with Stop Loan Sharks, we encourage individuals and communities to be vigilant and report any instances of illegal money lending.

“Together, we can build a stronger and more resilient society that is informed, protected, and empowered.”

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Illegal Money Lending Team, also known as Stop Loan Sharks.

Since 2004, the IMLT has supported over 31,500 people and written off over £91.2 million worth of illegal debt, securing over 416 prosecutions for illegal money lending, leading to 598 years in jail.

Anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending should call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at: www.stoploansharks.co.uk

Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.