PEOPLE are being warned to avoid borrowing from loan sharks this Christmas.

Greenwich Council is advising against using services where lenders work without an appropriate licence from the Office of Fair Trading, sometimes resulting in violence or intimidation when payments are missed.

Instead, people are encouraged to turn to the Greenwich Credit Union, a not for profit organisation which has loaned more than £18m to people in the area.

Under the scheme, members make a regular saving each week or month and are eligible to take out their first loan after three months.

The Greenwich Money Advice Service is also on hand to help those who have run in to financial problems. Call them on 020 8291 6375.

Find out about the credit union at