Appeal for suspected loan shark victims to come forward in Merseyside

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is appealing for information about loan sharks in Merseyside.

It follows a recent operation in the Wirral which identified potential victims in the area.

IMLT officers working with Wirral Council Trading Standards and Merseyside Police, executed warrants at two residential addresses in Wirral back in March.

The two women, aged 37 and 60 years old remain under investigation for illegal money lending and money laundering.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, comments:

“Victims of loan sharks often think they have committed a crime by borrowing money, but in actual fact it is the illegal money lender who is breaking the law.

“We are in the early stages of our investigation and have identified potential loan shark victims in Wirral.  Loan sharks will not be tolerated in Merseyside and we are working with our council and police partners to bring these offenders to justice.

“Any piece of information, no matter how small, can make a real difference in ridding our communities of this crime. If you have been affected by illegal money lending, call our 24 hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk for more information.”

Loan sharks operate illegally without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced, many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:

  • Did they offer you a cash loan?
  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 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