Two men aged 19 and 56 years-old were arrested this morning (Wednesday, 1 November) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Trading Standards departments from Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Trafford Council, and Greater Manchester Police, executed warrants at a residential address in Firswood and business premises in Hyde.
During searches of both addresses, IMLT officers seized documentation, electronic devices and a substance suspected to be drugs.
The suspects are currently in custody and are being questioned by officers from the IMLT.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England 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 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 officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
Councillor David Hopps, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Strategic Planning, said:
“Those operating as illegal money lenders are only dealing in misery for their victims and I would urge anyone with information about suspected loan sharks to report them.
“Also, I would appeal to people experiencing debt to speak to Citizens Advice or the Money Advice Service, rather than deal with unscrupulous criminals.
“Our Trading Standards team will continue to support the vital work of the England Illegal Money Lending Team.”
Cllr John Taylor, Tameside Council Executive Deputy Leader, said:
“Loan sharks are a scourge on the weakest in our community and we’ll continue to work closely with our partners to take a zero tolerance approach to tackling them.”
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 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