Loan shark suspect arrested in Leeds

A man was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending following an early morning warrant in Leeds.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from West Yorkshire Police to execute a warrant at an address in the Horsforth area on Tuesday, April 30.

The 35-year-old suspect was taken into custody to be questioned by IMLT officers. Electronic devices and paperwork were seized at the property.

The IMLT works in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.

Tony Quigley, head of the IMLT, said: “We will not tolerate illegal money lending and we work hard with our partners to make sure those responsible face the consequences.

“We understand that people may find it difficult to come forward and admit that they have borrowed from an illegal lender, but we want to reassure them that they have done nothing wrong.

“Our officers are there to provide expert help and advice and will support those that report illegal lending activities every step of the way.”

There are up to 1.08 million people in debt to loan sharks in England, according to figures from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).

The warning signs of an illegal lender include:

  • 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

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the IMLT. Since its launch, the team has supported over 31,500 people and written off over £91.2 million worth of illegal debt, securing over 418 prosecutions for illegal money lending, leading to 598 years in jail.

Anyone who has been affected by illegal money lending should call the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.