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Intimidation During Illegal Debt Collection A Growing Issue In Westmeath

It was up for discussion at a the county's most recent joint policing committee.

Gardaí in Westmeath are acknowledging a growing issue of intimidation during the collection of illegally accrued debts. 

The problem was raised at a meeting of the joint policing committee in the county yesterday afternoon. 

It's understood these bills are being run up by those who find themselves unable to secure necessary loans due to a poor credit rating and those who are addicted to drugs.

Local Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke gave an account of a constituent who came to her with bite marks across her chest, which she says were handed out by one of the so called debt collectors. 

Deputy Clarke detailed the actions of what she describes as nefarious characters operating in both Athlone and Mullingar and noted that her office had recorded a substantial increase in the number of calls it receives on the matter. 

Chief Superintendent of the Westmeath Garda Division, Fergus Healy accepted it was a growing problem both locally and on a national scale. 

Mr. Healy says an inspector has been appointed to specifically deal with any reported cases of the crime and encourage people to come forward to Gardaí.

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