Suspected loan shark arrested in Bedfordshire

A 61-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Bedfordshire last week.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Bedford Borough Council Trading Standards and Bedfordshire Police executed a warrant at a residential address in Kempston on Wednesday, December 1.

Officers seized a large quantity of documentation and electronic devices during a search of the property.

The suspect was taken into custody for questioning and has since been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

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 Bedfordshire and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.”

Families across Bedfordshire are being urged not to turn to predatory loan sharks to cover the cost of Christmas this year.

The IMLT has launched its annual Christmas campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks and promote the support available for victims. 

The #AllIWantForChristmas campaign is running across the Stop Loan Sharks social media channels and features advice and tips on how to stay safe from illegal money lenders.

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. Just click on the chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to talk to our expert support team in real time.