A 23-year-old man has been arrested in Stockton-on-Tees on suspicion of running an illegal money lending operation in the Middlesbrough area.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from Cleveland Police to execute a warrant at an address in the Billingham area today. (August 15, 2023)
Officers seized electronic devices and the suspect was taken into custody to be questioned by investigators.
The IMLT works in partnership with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Trading Standards to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.
Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We will not tolerate illegal money lending in England and we will continue to work with our partners to tackle these ruthless criminals who blight lives and communities.
“If you have been offered a cash loan and then threatened when you couldn’t pay, or if what you owe keeps growing even though you are making payments, you may have been targeted by an illegal lender.
“If you or anyone you know is in this position then contact our team in complete confidence. We are here to help you.”
In a report published last year, Swimming with Sharks, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) revealed that there could be up to 1.08 million people in debt to illegal money lenders in England.
Many face threats and intimidation, with some illegal lenders demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.
Many illegal money lenders appear friendly on the first meeting, and may even be known to the victim, but the IMLT is urging people to look out for the following warning signs:
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
For media enquiries, please contact IMLT press officer Sally-Anne Youll by
emailing Sally-Anne.Youll@birmingham.gov.uk or calling 07840 712850.
Notes to editors:
The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England, Scotland and Wales work alongside the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to investigate those operating within the consumer credit market without the appropriate authorisation.
The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.