A couple were arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Lancashire and Liverpool.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from Lancashire Constabulary, Merseyside Police, Lancashire County Council and Liverpool City Council Trading Standards to execute warrants at two addresses on Wednesday, February 16.
Officers seized cash, documentation and electronic devices during searches of the properties in the Digmoor area of Skelmersdale and in Liverpool.
A 50-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man were taken into custody for questioning. They have since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “Illegal money lending will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with our partners to take action against those who blight our communities in this way.
“If you have been offered a cash loan, threatened when you couldn’t pay, had your bank card taken from you as security or if what you owe keeps growing even though you are making payments, then you may well have been bitten by a loan shark.
“If you, or anyone you know, has experienced any of these things or has any knowledge of loan shark activities then contact our team in complete confidence. We will help you escape the clutches of these ruthless criminals.”
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Cabinet Member for Community and Cultural Services at Lancashire County Council, said: “Illegal money lending is a hidden problem which has a terrible impact on often vulnerable people, leaving them in great financial difficulty.
“It is a crime and not something we will tolerate in Lancashire. We will continue to work closely with the Illegal Money Lending Team and the police to tackle this problem.”
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Abdul Qadir, said: “This is partnership work at its best. It’s great to see that the expertise and dedication of these teams really does get results – results which will ultimately make a real, positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people.
“Investigations like these send out a clear message that this activity will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with partners to ensure residents do not fall victim to these unlicensed, unscrupulous moneylenders.”
Watch out for these warning signs when dealing with loan sharks:
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.