The Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) was launched in February 2008 by Cardiff Trading Standards in partnership with the Wales Heads of Trading Standards. The Unit was established as a result of successful pilot projects in Glasgow and Birmingham and is funded by Central Government.

WIMLU deals with the problem of illegal money lending in Wales. Many illegal lenders (loan sharks) have operated without impunity and used fear and intimidation to carry on their business. Historically they have targeted the most vulnerable members of society, those on low or no income and single parent families. However there is no longer a typical loan shark victim, it is just as likely to be an individual who is employed as unemployed and who appears to be in control of their finances.

The work of WIMLU and the other teams around the UK shows that people increasingly find themselves in financial difficulty, and many feel they have no one else to turn to when they need cash for essentials. These individuals are often turned down by legal lenders and have become financially excluded.

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