A 59-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in the London borough of Hackney.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at an address in the area on Wednesday 12th April 2023. Officers seized electronic devices, documents and a quantity of cash during a search of the property.
The suspect was taken into custody and is being questioned by investigators.
The IMLT works in partnership with Hackney Council 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 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 Susan Fajana Thomas OBE, Cabinet member for community safety and regulatory services, said: “Illegal money lending is an unacceptable practice, with loan sharks targeting and taking advantage of people who, due to circumstances, are unable to obtain credit; this leads them into greater difficulty, which the loan shark exploits for their own gains.
“Loan sharks often start by being very friendly, pretending to offer an answer to people’s problems, they may even be known members of the community, but this soon changes as the debt remains unpaid and interest charges grow.
“We fully support the Illegal Money Lending Team’s work in our borough and encourage everyone to follow their advice and to report any suspected loan sharks. This can be done anonymously.
“As the rising cost of living puts household budgets under increasing pressure, getting advice about problem debt as early as possible is important. Hackney Council is offering support, and we have created a guide, here.
People can also reach out to organisations that can help free of charges, such as Citizens Advice, National Debtline or Stepchange Debt Charity.”