The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is appealing for information following an operation which identified loan shark victims in Burton-on-Trent.
The known victims are understood to be Eastern European nationals, mainly Bulgarian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and Slovakian.
An event is being held at Gretton House, Waterside Court, Third Avenue, DE14 2WQ on Tuesday, 20 August 2019, between 9am and 5pm for residents affected by illegal money lending.
A 34-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending, money laundering and unlawful possession of identification documents as part of the operation last month.
Cash, documentation and electronic devices were seized following raids at two properties in the town on Tuesday, 23 July.
Officers from the IMLT, working in conjunction with Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards and Staffordshire Police also recovered a large quantity of passports and European identity cards during searches of both addresses.
The suspect has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “It’s understood that a number of Eastern European nationals have had their driving licences, passports and identification cards retained as security against the loans provided.
“We are appealing to these people to get in touch with us as we would like to return their property and offer our help and support. You are not in trouble if you have borrowed money or have been paying back a loan from a loan shark – they are the people committing a crime, not you.”
If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:
To report a loan shark, call the 24 hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, text a report to 078600 22116 or complete a secure form here.