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A 42 year-old woman was arrested this morning (29th March) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in Longton.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Stoke-On-Trent City Council’s Trading Standards Department and Staffordshire Police executed a warrant at a home address in Longton seizing documentation and electronic devices.

The suspect is currently in custody and is being questioned by IMLT officers.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said:

“We will continue to work local authorities and the police to combat loan sharks. These criminals cause untold misery amongst our local communities.

“If you’ve been issued a loan with no paperwork attached, or are receiving threats over a loan you have already paid off, please get in touch with IMLT on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

Cllr Randy Conteh, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communities and Safer City, said:

“Loan sharks are notorious for targeting people when they are at their most desperate, exploiting and profiting from their situation, and threatening and intimidating victims. I would like to reassure residents that the city council is absolutely determined to identify the people responsible for illegally lending money and to stop loan sharking in our communities.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 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

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject