SEVEN people have been arrested in Brixham as part of a crackdown on illegal money lending in the town.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working with Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, executed search warrants at five Brixham addresses where they seized documentation, electronic devices and a quantity of cash.
A group of six men, aged between 33 and 45, were arrested alongside a 27-year-old woman on suspicion of several offences including illegal money lending, money laundering and perverting the course of justice.
The suspects are currently in police custody being questioned by IMLT officers.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said
“Loan sharks are a blight on society and prey on vulnerable people who struggle to make ends meet.
“This crime will not be tolerated in Devon and we will continue to work with our council and police partners to stamp out illegal money lending.
“We urge anyone affected by loan sharks to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. Our lines are open round-the-clock over the festive period and we will help you.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant, Lee Langley said:
“This morning, officers from the Brixham Policing Team carried out multiple search warrants in Brixham, alongside colleagues from the National Illegal Money Lending team and other supporting police units.
“Six men and one woman, all from Brixham, remain in police custody on suspicion of offences including illegal money lending and money laundering.
“This ongoing piece of work highlights the great multi-agency working between police and the Illegal Money Leading Team to safeguard our local communities and disrupt illegal activity.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 385 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to over 330 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £74 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/stoploansharksproject