Two women were arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences following an operation in Liverpool.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with Liverpool City Council Trading Standards and Merseyside Police to execute warrants at two addresses in Croxteth and Norris Green on Wednesday (February 2).
Officers seized documentation and electronic devices during searches of both properties.
The two suspects, aged 32 and 33, 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: “We are determined to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks, and we will work with partners to take action against them.
“Loan sharks are criminals that prey on the most vulnerable people in our communities. They trap their victims into spiralling debt and will often use intimidation and violence.
“We will not tolerate these activities in Merseyside and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.”
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Abdul Qadir, said: “Loan sharks are a blight on our communities, and I’d like to praise the teams involved for their hard work and commitment in tackling this crime.
“The actions of these individuals can ruin lives, and we will continue to work with partners to ensure vulnerable residents do not fall victim to these unlicensed, unscrupulous money lenders.”
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.