Arrests made in crackdown on suspected loan sharks

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences in Middlesbrough.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Council Trading Standards, executed warrants at two addresses in the town as part of a crackdown on suspected loan sharks. 

A 60-year-old woman was arrested after a warrant was executed at a property near Park End on Tuesday (January 25).

During the search, officers seized a large quantity of cash, documentation and mobile phones. 

In another unrelated operation last week (January 18), a 40-year-old man from the Acklam area was also arrested on suspicion of loan sharking offences and electronic devices were seized.

Both suspects were taken into custody for questioning. They have since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are determined to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks, and we will work with partners to take action against them.

“Loan sharks are criminals that prey on the most vulnerable people in our communities. They trap their victims into spiralling debt and will often use intimidation and violence.

“We will not tolerate these activities in Middlesbrough and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.

“Anyone who needs to borrow money from a safe and responsible lender should contact South Tees Community Bank on Linthorpe Road. The website is www.southteescommunitybank.org.uk.”

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 at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.