A 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Suffolk last week.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from Suffolk County Council Trading Standards and Suffolk Constabulary to execute warrants at two addresses in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday, April 12.
Officers seized documentation and electronic devices during searches of the properties.
The suspect was taken into custody and questioned by investigators. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are determined to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks, and we will work with partners to take action against them.
“Loan sharks are criminals that prey on the most vulnerable people in our communities. They trap their victims into spiralling debt and will often use intimidation and violence.
“We will not tolerate these activities in Suffolk and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.”
A recent report published by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Swimming with Sharks, estimated 1.08 million people may currently owe money to loan sharks, with some lenders demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.
Watch out for these warning signs when dealing with loan sharks:
Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies can apply for grants of up to £5,000 for activities that highlight the dangers of loan sharks.
The Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund is made available from money seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Organisations will need to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community and how it will help tackle loan sharks.
The closing date for applications is Thursday, 30th June 2022.
If you or someone you know is involved with a loan shark, call the 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222 or fill in our online form for support and advice. Live chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Click the chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to get connected to our expert support team.