A man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering, following an operation in Keighley.
Documentation, electronic devices and a quantity of suspected cannabis was seized following a raid on a property in the Knowle Park area of the town on Tuesday (18 August).
A 33-year-old man was taken into custody as part of the operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards and West Yorkshire Police, and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks prey on vulnerable people by charging extortionate interest rates then often harassing and intimidating their victims for repayments.
“There are other legitimate options available to people who are experiencing financial problems and help is available from the Bradford District Credit Union to obtain affordable credit without turning to loan sharks.
“I am urging anyone who has been a victim of this crime, or thinks they have been targeted by loan sharks, to get in contact with us. We can help you access specialist services and provide emotional and practical support.”
Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager, said: “The work of the Illegal Money Lending Team is critical, even more so during a time of widespread economic uncertainty in the current pandemic. Increased vulnerability, anxiety and isolation, along with job and financial insecurities create increased opportunities for loan shark activities, and we welcome the Team’s intervention across the County.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 400 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 586 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £83 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 30,000 people.
Credit unions are recommended as a safe, alternative lending and saving facility. To find out about Bradford District Credit Union’s ethical financial products visit www.bdcu.co.uk