Northumberland County Council is urging residents to be on their guard when borrowing money or being offered credit.

The authority’s housing and public protection trading standards team have received reports of a business working in the county putting flyers through residents doors offering loans which could result in paying back three times the amount originally borrowed.

This type of approach is often used among loan sharks who offer easy credit and target those most in need with poor credit ratings, who may already be struggling to meet essential everyday living costs.

The authority warned that certain types of lender can trap borrowers into huge debt by charging high rates of interest and extra charges.

Coun. John Riddle, cabinet member for planning, housing and resilience, said: “I would always advise residents to be very careful who they seek a loan from and encourage people to use credit unions, such as the Northumberland Community Bank.”

Philip Soderquest, head of housing and public protection, added: “Residents need to be aware that loan sharks are unscrupulous individuals, taking advantage of people in desperate situations.”

Anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team in confidence on (0300) 5552222 or