NICOLA Sturgeon has been asked to ensure action is taken against rogue money lenders preying on people over Christmas.

Pauline McNeill, Glasgow Labour MSP asked the First Minister to set up a public campaign warning of the risks and also to promote credit unions as a safe alternative for people unable to get finance from high street lenders.

Earlier this week the Evening Times reported how police and trading standards were working together to crackdown on illegal money lenders in the city.

We told how the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit warned of the violence, threats and demands for sexual favours used by loan sharks to recoup cash lent and extort huge interest in communities in Glasgow.

The MSP told the First Minister people are being subjected to intimidation and sexual exploitation by money lenders.

Ms McNeill said: “Despite the excellent work done by Trading Standards Scotland and Police Scotland, rogue lenders are still slipping through the net and they continue to wreak havoc in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities. Evidence collated by those organisations shows that some of the methods used include intimidation and the demanding of sexual favours.”

She asked if credit unions could be promoted more , adding: “Will she consider having a higher-profile public information campaign, particularly in such communities, that might talk about their existence and importance? Does she agree that that might protect more families from such criminals?

Ms Sturgeon said Illegal moneylending will not be tolerated in Scotland at this time of year or at any other time of year. We fully support the Scottish illegal money lending unit, which is hosted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in its drive to investigate and prosecute those who prey on vulnerable people in this way.”