Page last updated at 10:45 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

Loan shark's profits given away

Money - generic
Savers will get 20 put in their account if they are still open after a year

Money seized from a loan shark's illegal profits is to be given away to help people in financial difficulties.

A raid at the offender's house in Gosport recovered 35,000, and 17,500 has been allocated to the South East England Illegal Money Lending Team

The group will use the cash to offer residents in Gosport an incentive scheme to start new savings accounts.

A spokesman said they would add 20 to new accounts once they have been open for a year.

The giveaway scheme, the first of its kind, was run at a family fun day on Saturday at the Nimrod Community Centre in Rowner, Gosport.

'Innovative scheme'

The accounts will be with the Hampshire Credit Union - a not-for-profit organisation that provides banking services for people who struggle with their finances.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas said: "This is a truly innovative scheme designed to plough money seized from loan sharks back into the community.

"It will provide a good incentive to people to open up a savings account and regain control of their finances.

"Since the anti-loan sharks teams were set up in 2004 they have helped more than 6,000 victims across the UK.

"Clearly this is a huge achievement and the teams should be congratulated on their on-going success."

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