A CRIME team has been championed for its efforts to tackle loan sharks.
Durham Constabulary has been commended for its outstanding work to raise awareness of the dangers of using illegal lenders in the Stop Loan Sharks Award.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) nominated the officers for its commitment to educating people and promoting the organisation’s work.
It added there was also a focus on tackling the issue at a planning level, with added support to carry out warrants, and encourage confidential reporting in whatever way people feel comfortable.
The IMLT works with Durham County Council and other Trading Standards authorities across the country.
The force is now in with a chance of becoming the national winner and receiving £1,000 worth of proceeds of crime money to fund further awareness raising, after an online public vote.
Detective Inspector Lyn Peart, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for the work we do.
“Our message is simple – this activity will not be tolerated and, along with our partners, we will be relentless in our campaign to stop those involved in it.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners to tackle this issue and to keep our communities safe.”
Anyone who wants to speak about loan sharks can call the 24-hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, text “loan shark + your message” to 60003, email email@example.com or send a private message via www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject.