Lewisham has the highest ratio of payday shops to residents in the whole of the UK, according to new research.

The borough was ranked worst with 7.6 quick-cash stores for every 100,000 residents, under figures released by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

It is the first time stores run by the biggest high street suppliers of short-term credit have been mapped and the findings linked poverty with higher numbers of lending shops.

Councillor for Lewisham Central ward Councillor Mike Harris said: “Many residents have raised concerns with me over the number of stores and their marketing methods.

“During the Olympic torch relay in Lewisham, one loan firm dressed up in costume to hand out flyers promoting high interest loans to local parents.

“Loan firms will flyer council estates where they know people are struggling due to the cuts in benefits.

“Our local credit union does fantastic work but is out-gunned by the huge advertising machine behind the payday loan companies.”

Harlow in Essex came second in the results, with Halton, near Liverpool, ranking third, while London boroughs Hammersmith and Fulham and Barking and Dagenham also came in the top 10.

To read the full report click here.