Suspected loan shark arrested in Birmingham

Families struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living are being warned of the dangers of loan sharks.

The warning comes after a woman was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in north west Birmingham on Wednesday 1st March 2023.

Officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with West Midlands Police to execute a warrant at a residential address in Handsworth. Officers seized electronic devices during a search of the property.

The 43-year-old suspect was taken into custody for questioning. She was released on bail pending further enquiries.

Councillor Phil Davis, Chair of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, Birmingham City Council, said: “Illegal money lending is unacceptable, and we are proud of the Illegal Money Lending Team’s work to prevent the activities of loan sharks in the county.

“These unscrupulous lenders often start by being very friendly and appear to be the answer to people’s problems, but that soon changes as the debt and interest charges grow. We encourage everyone to follow the Illegal Money Lending Team’s advice and to report any suspected loan sharks.

“As the cost of living puts household budgets under increasing pressure, it is important to get free advice about problem debt as early as possible from national organisations such as Citizens Advice, Stepchange Debt Charity and National Debtline.”

Warning signs that you could be dealing with a loan shark include:

  • giving no paperwork upon the agreement of a loan,
  • refusing to provide detailed information about a loan,
  • taking items such as a bank card or passport until the debt is paid,
  • intimidation and threats, and
  • taking things from you if you do not pay on time. 

A report published by the Centre for Social Justice estimated that 1.08 million people may owe money to loan sharks, with some lenders demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.

If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are worried about someone else who has, contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24 Hour Helpline on 0300 555 2222. Alternatively, you can access support using the confidential live chat service at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.

ENDS For media enquiries and interview requests, please email catherine.wohlers@birmingham.gov.uk