A loan shark from North Shields was sentenced on Friday (03/02) following a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court before HHJ Mallett.

Bubpha Curran, 47, of Longston Avenue in North Shields was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for 2 years after pleading guilty to two counts of illegal money lending between 3rd March 2012 and 9th February 2016 at an earlier hearing.

Officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with North Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards Department and Northumbria Police executed a warrant at Curran’s home address on 9th February 2016. The council’s Trading Standards services is delivered for the local authority by its partner Capita.

During searches, IMLT officers seized notebooks containing loan details and customers bank details and over £1,800 in cash. A quantity of luxury watches were also seized by officers.

On behalf of the prosecution, Simon Mortimer told the court how between 3rd March 2012 and her arrest date 9th February 2016, Bubpha Curran was running an illegal money lending business.

The court was told how over a period of nearly four years, Curran had received over £28,700 by way of repayments. She had issued 130 loans totalling £69,500, including an additional 24 loans for goods totalling over £9,500. At the time of her arrest, Curran had an outstanding balance of £65,900 on loans.

Mr Mortimer explained to the court how one victim, who borrowed £1,000 from Curran in 2013, had to pay interest of £100 per month until the capital sum could be paid in full. The victim had taken out several loans from the loan shark to pay hospital fees in Thailand. At the time of Curran’s arrest, the victim was in debt to the loan shark in the sum of £4,000, having had to make payments of £400 per month.

Curran’s victims had approximately 5 loans each.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“We will continue to work to combat loan sharks. They can cause untold misery to the most disadvantaged in our communities. We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”

North Tyneside Councillor, John Harrison, Cabinet Member with responsibility for trading standards, said:

“Loan sharks are predators who feed of people’s desperation and exploit some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. This sentence shows what can be achieved when agencies work closely together, and it strikes a blow against illegal money lending in our area.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.

A POCA timetable has been set.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject