It is the most vulnerable who turn to loan sharks

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

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The jailing of two loan sharks with loan books worth more than £750,000 will come as a relief to people across Havant and Portsmouth.

Former taxi drivers Kevin White and Adrian Dowse charged up to 50 per cent interest on illegal loans to people whose car keys they would take as guarantee for the cash being paid back.

People desperate enough to go to loan sharks are among the most vulnerable in our communities.

An illegal loan of £1,000 can quickly shoot up, with borrowers sometimes never in a position to repay it, with the lender’s shadow cast over them for years.

In yesterday’s court case we heard that cars were taken when victims could not pay up.

As well as the financial strain, the mental stress of owing money to unscrupulous characters such as White and Dowse can lead debtors into a spiral of depression.

They may not have been the stereotypical loan sharks.

They were family men who lived in the heart of the Leigh Park community – among the hard-up people they loaned money too.

Their one saving grace is they coughed up to their nasty crime, meaning victims did not have to give evidence.

But their jail sentences show how damaging their trade can be – and how serious our judicial system takes it.

Debt can make you feel as if you are drowning, but there other places to turn than to loan sharks.

Credit unions offer loans at low interest rates and there is always practical help on offer from Citizens Advice.

Thank goodness victims had the courage to call the police.

Without them, who knows how big the loan books of White and Dowse would have grown.