Two men have been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences, following an operation in Bradford.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in conjunction with officers from the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service and West Yorkshire Police, executed warrants at three residential addresses in Haworth, Keighley and Wilsden this morning (July 9).
During the searches officers seized a large quantity of cash and electronic devices.
The suspects, who are aged 33 and 49 years old, are currently being questioned in police custody.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We are committed to working with our partners to keep local communities safe from illegal money lending.
“I urge anyone who is suffering at the hands of a loan shark to contact the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”
Councillor Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “Loan sharks cause misery within our local communities and prey on those who are most vulnerable within our society and we will continue to work with the Illegal Money Lending Team to make sure they understand they are not welcome in the district.
“If people are struggling financially, there is advice available on our website on which organisation may be able to help, including the Bradford District Credit Union who can provide loans in certain situations when banks have not been able to lend money.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 394 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 480 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £74.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 29,000 people.
To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222, text a report to 078600 22116 or complete a secure form here.