A man and woman have been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering, following an operation in Sunderland.
Cash, documentation and electronic devices were seized following raids on two properties in Roker and Seaburn yesterday (Wednesday, 6 November).
A 47-year-old man and 78-year-old woman were taken into custody as part of the operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Sunderland City Council trading standards and Northumbria Police, and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Illegal money lenders prey on the vulnerable within our communities, with victims faced with spiralling debt, extortionate interest rates and the very real threat of intimidation. We will continue to work with our partners to crack down on this crime.”
Sunderland City Council Executive Director (Neighbourhoods) Fiona Brown added: “We won’t tolerate loan sharks operating in Sunderland, and the council will continue to work with community safety partners and national enforcement agencies to take the strongest possible action against this type of criminal activity.
“The raids on the homes of those suspected of being involved in our city, should send out a clear signal that with the local community’s support we will identify anyone involved in illegal money lending and do everything we can to bring them to justice.”
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 on 0300 555 2222, text a report to 078600 22116 or complete a secure form here.