A 71-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Scarborough.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from our Trading Standards team and North Yorkshire Police to execute a warrant at an address in the Woodlands area on Tuesday, March 29.
Officers seized documentation and electronic devices during a search of the property.
The suspect was taken into custody and questioned by investigators. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Illegal money lending will not be tolerated in Yorkshire, and we will continue to work with our partners to take action against those who blight our communities in this way.
“If you have been offered a cash loan, threatened when you couldn’t pay, had your bank card taken from you as security or if what you owe keeps growing even though you are making payments, then you may well have been bitten by a loan shark.
"If you, or anyone you know, has experienced any of these things or has any knowledge of loan shark activities then contact our team in complete confidence. We will help you escape the clutches of these ruthless criminals.”
Matt O’Neill, our Assistant Director Growth, Planning and Trading Standards, said: “Illegal money lending is unacceptable, and we support the Illegal Money Lending Team’s work to prevent the activities of loan sharks in the county.
“Illegal money lenders often start by being very friendly and seem to offer the answer to people’s problems, but that soon changes as the debt and interest charges grow. We encourage everyone to follow the Illegal Money Lending Team’s advice and to report any suspected loan sharks.
“As the cost of living puts household budgets under increasing pressure, it is important to get advice about problem debt as early as possible. There are organisations throughout the county that can help free of charge such as Citizens Advice, Stepchange Debt Charity and National Debtline.”
In a new report published last week, Swimming with Sharks, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) reveals that there could be up to 1.08 million people in debt to loan sharks in England, with some lenders demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.
Watch out for these warning signs when dealing with loan sharks:
- giving you no paperwork or agreement on a loan
- refusing to give you information about the loan
- keeping items until the debt is paid such as your bank card or passport
- taking things from you if you don't pay on time
- adding more interest or charges so the debt never goes down
- using intimidation or violence if you don't pay
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online on the Stop Loan Sharks website. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.