A 51 year-old man and 57 year-old woman were arrested this morning (31/01) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Newcastle City Council Trading Standards and Northumbria Police executed warrants at three home addresses. At two of the addresses, IMLT officers seized documentation, a quantity of cash and electronic devices.

The suspect’s currently remain in custody and are being questioned by IMLT officers.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“We will continue to work to combat loan sharks. They can cause untold misery to the most disadvantaged in our communities. We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”

Newcastle Neighbourhood Sergeant Pinner Rana said:

“Northumbria Police is aware that illegal money lending does take place, particularly in this tough financial climate, and we know that illegal money lenders target those people in the community who are vulnerable and generate a spiral of debt which victims can’t get out of.

“We are determined, with our partners, to disrupt this activity and put loan sharks out of business. I’d urge anyone with information concerning illegal money lending to contact the England Illegal Money Lending Team or the police. Any information given will be treated in confidence.”

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, who chairs the city’s Financial Inclusion Group, said:

“I welcome any action taken against loan sharks and suspected loan sharks.

“Newcastle City Council has always had zero tolerance to people who exploit the vulnerable. We will follow these cases with interest and in the meantime warn the public to stay clear of illegal money lenders and the misery they pedal.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk  

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject