A 69-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Essex.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from The Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at an address in the Romford area on Tuesday, February 28.
Officers seized documentation, electronic devices, and an amount of cash during a search of the property.
The suspect was taken into custody and questioned by investigators. She was later released under investigation.
The IMLT works in partnership with The London Borough of Havering Trading Standards to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Illegal money lending will not be tolerated in England, and we will continue to work with our partners to take action against those who blight our communities in this way.
“If you have been offered a cash loan, threatened when you couldn’t pay, had your bank card taken from you as security or if what you owe keeps growing even though you are making payments, then you may well have been bitten by a loan shark.
“If you, or anyone you know, has experienced any of these things or has any knowledge of loan shark activities then contact our team in complete confidence. We will help you escape the clutches of these ruthless criminals.”
Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said: “Illegal money lending is unacceptable, and we support the Illegal Money Lending Team’s work to prevent the activities of loan sharks in the county.
“Illegal money lenders often start by being very friendly and seem to offer 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 advice about problem debt as early as possible. There are organisations throughout the county that can help free of charge such as Citizens Advice, Stepchange Debt Charity and National Debtline.”
In a new report published last year, Swimming with Sharks, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) reveals that there could be up to 1.08 million people in debt to loan sharks in England, with some demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.