Loan sharks

Loan sharks are illegal lenders who often target low income and desperate families. They might seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea – even if you feel you have no other options.

Why loan sharks are bad

Loan sharks will start out appearing friendly. And if you keep up your repayments, they might stay that way.

But the reality is, even if you do, any money you borrow will come at a very high price.

There are many risks attached to borrowing from a loan shark:
• you pay far more in interest than you would through any legal borrowing.
• you might be harassed or threatened if you get behind with your repayments – there have been reports of people being intimidated or attacked
• you might be pressured into borrowing more money to repay one loan with another, and end up in a spiral of debt that you can never repay.

How to spot a loan shark

A loan shark might:
• offer little or no paperwork, such as a credit agreement or record of payments
• refuse to give information, such as the interest rate or how much you owe
• take items as security, such as passports, bank cards or driving licences
• increase the debt or add additional charges at any time
• refuse to allow you to settle your debt
• get nasty – they might resort to intimidation, threats or violence.

How to check a lender is legitimate

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) keeps details of all authorised lenders.

If a lender isn’t listed as having a current authorisation to lend money, don’t borrow money from them and don’t let them come into your home.

Check the FCA Financial Services Register to see if a lender is authorised.

Loan sharks and the law

Although some loan sharks resort to intimidation and even violence, they are not beyond the law.

Any lender – authorised or not – who harasses you is breaking the law.

Some loan sharks will threaten you by saying you will be prosecuted and even sent to prison if you don’t pay up.

This can’t happen – an unauthorised lender such as a loan shark has no legal right to recover the debt.

In fact, they have no legal right to make you pay the loan back at all – because the loan is illegal.

Stop Loan Sharks

Stop Loan Sharks investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark.


How to contact Stop Loan Sharks

You can contact them with general queries through their online form. To report a loan shark:

• Complete their short and safe online form and they will call you at a time to suit you.

• Call 0300 555 2222 at any time of the day or night

• Email

• Text the lender’s details to 07860 022116

Please note emails are monitored between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday. If you need to report a loan shark urgently please call their helpline on 0300 555 2222 where someone is always available to talk to you. cent 2;\lsdprio

Talk, Tea and Tech

Talk, Tea and Tech – Starting Wednesday 12th June 2pm

Whether you want to send an email or text, upload images from your camera or Facetime a relative on the other side of world, Talk, Tea & Tech will be a relaxed, social, activity that will help residents aged 50 yrs plus to understand technology and to improve digital inclusion.

It is never too old to be a Silver Surfer.

Sessions will take place in the Village Hall Committee Room on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and cost £1.00 per person (inc. refreshments).


Belbroughton and Fairfield Parish Council is calling on residents, passionate about their community to stand in the local elections in 2019.

What do councillors do?

Councillors are the champions of their community and give residents a voice on the decisions the council makes. Becoming a councillor will allow you to make a real difference in your community by engaging with residents, local groups and businesses to find out their needs; making decisions on which services and projects the council should take forward; and getting involved locally to ensure the services are meeting your community’s needs.

How long does it take?

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Local Councillor Census Survey found that councillors put aside, on average, three hours a week for council work. This often includes attending meetings, engaging with residents and speaking on behalf of the council to other bodies.

Can I stand?

There are only a few rules to stand for election. You must be:

•           A British citizen, or a citizen of the Commonwealth, or the European Union

•           18 years of age or older

•           Live in an area that is served by a local council

How can I get involved?

Contact Belbroughton & Fairfield Parish Council

to find out more or visit

© NALC 2018

New support line for victims now live

A new victim service dedicated to supporting those affected by crime throughout their journey has launched in West Mercia.

At 8am this morning, (1st April), the new Victim Advice Line (VAL) went live. Those needing support can now access the free and confidential service and receive a care package that is bespoke to them.

To make it easier for those wanting to access the service, there are a number of ways for people to get in touch:

• The free and confidential phone line (0800 952 3000) is open 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 5pm on Saturdays
• A new website ( is now live
• An online chat function, available on the website, gives those not wanting to use the phone an opportunity to talk to someone online
• If someone doesn’t have time to chat on the phone or online, there is also an option to email or use the contact form on the website

Recognising the needs of victims are different, the VAL will work with the victim and allow them to have greater ownership of their journey by allowing them to shape it themselves. Those that need someone to talk to also don’t have to have reported the crime to the police.

This new service is part of Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s commitment to ensuring victims of crime receive an improved and more consistent service, and is also a model that is being seen as best practice and a flagship across the country in delivering support to victims, having already been adopted by other PCCs and police forces.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I am delighted to be officially launching the Victim Advice Line today. This new service marks the beginning of big changes to the way victims are supported.

“By working with an individual and making sure they’re getting the level of support they need, and deserve, we’re sure to see those affected by crime moving on with their life with greater confidence.

“This new service also allows better multi-agency working, such as with the police and other support services, which will ensure those affected by crime will have someone with them every step of their journey.”

West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable, Martin Evans, said: “We are truly committed to providing the best possible service for victims and survivors. We strive to always put victims at the heart of everything we do and the support that the Victim Advice Line will provide alongside us will be invaluable.

“Every member of our force is dedicated to ensuring we are always victim focussed and the VAL is a perfect reflection of our values and commitment.

Did you witness a robbery at around 11.30am on Tuesday (26 March) on Chapel Lane, Bell Heath?

West Mercia Police are appealing for witnesses or information following a robbery near Belbroughton.

The incident happened at around 11.30am on Tuesday, 26 March on Chapel Lane.

The victim, a man in his 30s, pulled up in his van outside an address on Chapel Lane when a white car containing two men pulled up next to him.

One of the men got out of the car and approached the victim, demanding he hand over the keys to his van.

The second man, believed to be carrying a bladed article, also got out of the car and approached the victim before threatening him.

The victim threw the keys to his van on the ground and fled the scene.

The two men then drove off in the van and the white car in the direction of Madeley Road.

The van was discovered abandoned a short time later on Harbours Hill, not far from where the incident happened.

The offenders had taken a large quantity of parcels from inside the van.

The first man is described as black, aged between 25 and 30-years-old, around 6′ tall and of athletic build. He is believed to have been wearing dark clothing and a hood.

The second man is described as in his 20s, with dark skin, around 5’11” tall and of slim build. He is believed to have been wearing dark clothing and a hood.

Detective Constable David Bunce from West Mercia Police said: “Thankfully the victim wasn’t injured as a result of this incident, but this was understandably a frightening ordeal for him that has left him shaken.

“We have launched a thorough investigation to identify those responsible and a number of enquiries are currently ongoing.

“We would urge anyone who may have witnessed the incident, seen anything suspicious or a white car being driven erratically in the area around the time of the incident, or think they may have been offered suspected stolen goods in the Bell End or Bell Heath areas to please get in touch.

“Anyone with any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 22/27325/19 of 26 March.”

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website

Van Stolen from Chapel Lane, Bell Heath

On Tuesday 26th March, reported at 11.45am, a delivery van was stolen from outside a house whilst delivery was being made, partial registration of van YJxxWVC.

Did you see the incident or have you seen any suspicious activity?  Phone the police 101, Incident number 0283s 260319

How long does it take litter to rot?

How long does litter take to rot if we carelessly throw it away?

Two Weeks – Apple Cores

Although this is a rapid decomposition time, throwing away cores and other pieces of fruit can encourage rodents.

Four Weeks – Paper towels, paper bags, newspaper

With these items, decomposition time can vary enormously depending on how they are disposed of.

Six Weeks – Cereal boxes, banana skins

Banana skins can take longer than this to decompose if the weather is cold, as the skins are designed to protect the fruit inside. They are full of cellulose which is the same material from which cellophane wrappers are made.

Two – Three Months – Waxed cartons, cardboard

With such items, the decomposition time will vary depending on the thickness of the carton.

Six months – Cotton clothing

Of all textiles, cotton is the most biodegradable. Cotton can be composted and if the conditions are damp and warm enough, a piece of light cotton clothing can biodegrade in as little as a week.

One Year – Light woollen clothing

Light woollen clothing such as pullovers and socks. Wool is a natural product, so when it decomposes it releases into the soil useful nutrients such as protein keratin.

Two Years – Orange peel, plywood, cigarette ends

Cigarettes contain more than 600 ingredients, of which the longest lasting is cellulose acetate which takes a very long time to biodegrade.

Five Years – Heavy woollen clothing

Ten to Twenty Years – Plastic Bags

Many newer bags are designed to decompose when exposed to sunlight, though the majority are made from high density polyethylene. This is made with refined petroleum and it is not easily decomposed. The natural micro – organisms in soil don’t recognize the chemicals as food, so don’t break them down.

Thirty to Forty Years – Nylon, Carpet, Disposable Nappies

While they are convenient, disposable nappies are pretty toxic items, even if they haven’t been used, as they are treated with many chemicals.

Fifty Years – Tin cans, Car tyres, trainers, leather.

Seventy-Five to Eighty Years – Crisp Packets

With many packets made from metallised plastic film, they last a ridiculously long time.

One Hundred Years – Plastic Ring Holder

These are particularly hazardous to animals, as the rings can get trapped around their necks and choke them.

Two Hundred Years – Aluminium Drink Cans

It is more beneficial to recycle aluminium as it can be done indefinitely and the energy of recycling cans is far lower than creating new ones. Twenty recycled cans can be made using the same amount of energy it takes to make one new can and recycling just one can, can save as much energy as it takes to power a television for three hours.

Five Hundred Years – Plastic Bottles

Petrochemical products like these never fully biodegrade and the chemicals will remain in the soil.

One to Two Million Years – Glass Jars and Bottles

It could well be that these may last indefinitely. Glass is mainly composed of silica, which is one of the most stable and enduring minerals on the planet. The greatest problem with waste glass is that it is breakable and shards can do serious damage to creatures who eat or lick any food or drink residues.

And Even Longer – Batteries

While the thin metal casings break down eventually, the chemicals inside such as zinc, lead and mercury stay in the ground and can be extremely toxic.

Young Voices Needed For Youth Cabinet

Are you 11 – 18 yrs?

Have you thought you would like to make a difference in your local area of Worcestershire?

Good news you can! The Youth Cabinet are looking for new members. If you would like to find out more get in touch with the Youth Voice Team.

Bromsgrove Plan Review Update

The Community Association have been informed that the next consultation stage of the Bromsgrove Plan review is scheduled to be taking place in Autumn 2019.

It is envisaged that the autumn consultation will consist of the call for potential development sites, alongside a further issues  document which builds on the issues and options consultation from 2018.

Prior to the autumn consultation, in the spring/summer of 2019 in order to help inform submissions as part of the call for sites process, District Council officers will also publish revised draft methodologies for the Green Belt Purposes Assessment, and the Site Selection Process.

A more detailed timetable (Local Development Scheme) which outlines all the phases for plan production will also be published in due course.