Two men, aged 39 and 58 years-old were arrested this morning (15th March) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in Runcorn and Speke.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Halton Borough Council and Liverpool City Council’s Trading Standards Department, Merseyside Police and Cheshire Constabulary executed warrants at three home addresses seizing documentation, electronic devices and a quantity of cash.

Both suspects from Runcorn are currently in custody and are being questioned by IMLT officers.

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

“We will continue to work with 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 the 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 Dave Cargill, Halton Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Trading Standards, said:

“Loan sharks are often lifestyle criminals involved in other illegal activity. They don’t advertise – they get their work on recommendation and may be introduced to you as a friend of a friend who can help you out. Victims can often become trapped for years paying thousands of pounds more than they borrowed and facing intimidation and threats of violence if they miss payments.”

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for fairness, social inclusion and equalities, Councillor Jane Corbett said:

“We are committed to working in partnership with all support agencies, so together we can crackdown on those individuals who target the vulnerable 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