A 56-year-old man from Thornton, Lancashire has been charged with illegal money lending and money laundering offences.
The suspect was arrested after officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary and Lancashire County Council trading standards, executed a warrant at his home earlier today (Wednesday 23). During a search of the address, documentation and electronic devices were seized.
He is due to appear before Blackpool Magistrates on Tuesday 12 February.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:
“Loan sharks prey on vulnerable people and cause extreme fear and misery in our communities. We are determined, with our partners, to disrupt criminal activity and put loan sharks out of business.
“If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us on 0300 555 2222.”
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council with responsibility for Trading Standards, said:
“Illegal money lending is an often hidden problem which has a terrible impact on our communities, leaving vulnerable people in financial difficulty.
“It is a crime and not something we will tolerate in Lancashire. We will continue to work closely with the Illegal Money Lending Team and the police to tackle this problem.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 382 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116
Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksprojectE