I paid loan shark £60k

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Stephen Hay­ward

A BUSI­NESS­MAN who ran up debts of £60,000 has told how he forced to rely on food banks af­ter loan sharks ex­ploited his drink­ing and bet­ting prob­lems.

Strug­gling to care for his mother, who had de­men­tia, the clas­sic car dealer’s gam­bling and busi­nesses debts spi­ralled out of con­trol. The 53-year-old paid £60,000 on a £1,500 loan af­ter the lender jacked up bor­row­ing costs when he missed re­pay­ments over five years.

He said: “My monthly in­come from the fam­ily busi­ness was slashed to the bone. I had to use a food bank to put food on the ta­ble.” It comes as new fig­ures show more than £72mil­lion of il­le­gal debt has been writ­ten off un­der a na­tion­wide crack­down on dodgy lenders.

The vic­tim, who ran a firm in West Yorks, got “car­ried away” us­ing fixed-odds bet­ting ter­mi­nals at book­ies, where he was ap­proached by a man who of­fered to help him fi­nan­cially. He said: “I fell into a pat­tern of bor­row­ing money and pay­ing it back days later with eye-wa­ter­ing in­ter­est on top.”

More than 300,000 hard-up house­holds and busi­nesses are be­lieved to be us­ing the il­le­gal lenders, who are said to be ex­tort­ing more than £700mil­lion a year.

TAR­GET: Vic­tim

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