Soldiers fall victim to loan sharks as veterans’ charity calls for urgent action

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Messages found on the phones of two men following their sudden deaths suggested they were being sued to pay back their comrades. There are fears that the cost of living crisis will make the situation worse

Some soldiers turn to loan sharks to make ends meet

Defense chiefs are investigating illegal money lending among soldiers – after at least two died while being hunted down for repayments by comrades.

Messages found on the phones of two men following their sudden deaths suggested they were being sued to pay back their comrades.

A veterans campaigner said young, low-wage fathers are turning to loan sharks to make ends meet.

Former Royal Marine Sergeant Major Jeff Williams warned that many were unaware of the huge interest rates.

In March, an Irish guard was found dead of a suspected suicide in Lincoln. Military police found WhatsApp messages on his phone asking for payment of the money he had borrowed.







Jeff Williams said at least two soldiers committed suicide after going into debt
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Image:

Jeff Williams)


Details emerged after six members of the Irish Guards plus a veteran were arrested on charges of drug dealing, money lending and money laundering.

In 2020, a soldier from another regiment who committed suicide is also said to have borrowed from colleagues. Mobile messages suggested he had been threatened.

Jeff Williams, of Veterans United Against Suicide, said: “We are aware of many instances where this is happening.

“At least two soldiers committed suicide after falling into debt with moneylenders operating in the military.

“The cost of living crisis will worsen the situation for young soldiers. This is a problem requiring urgent action.

The Department of Defense declined to comment on the loan shark allegations.

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