Cash confiscated from loan sharks will be used to reward West Sussex residents who save through a credit union.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is working with Boom! credit union to launch a scheme to encourage residents to build up and emergency savings fund while also making them aware of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks.
A joint initiative will see the team use proceeds of crime money – recouped from convicted loan sharks – to sponsor new credit union accounts.
Tony Quigley, head of ILMT, said: ““We’re pleased to be working with BOOM! credit union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks’ cash being put to good use, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
“Loan sharks can have a horrific impact on our communities and should be avoided at all costs.”
The initiative is open to the first 50 people who join Boom! and save £25 a month for three consecutive months.
Members who meet the saving requirements will receive a £25 boost directly into their account.
It is hoped by encouraging residents to save it will prevent them turning to loan sharks to borrow emergency cash.
An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge hefty interest rates to trap people into a spiral of debt, the credit union said.
Anyone who has fallen victim to a loan shark should contact the ILMT in confidence on 0300 555 2222.
For more information on how to become a member of BOOM! call 01903 228496 or visit www.boomcu.com