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Suspected loan sharks arrested in Southwark

A 47-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences, following an operation in Southwark.

The man was also arrested on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation and attempted burglary.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with the London Borough of Southwark Trading Standards Service, and the Metropolitan Police executed warrants at three addresses on Wednesday, 7 July.

Officers seized documentation, bank cards and electronic devices during searches of the properties.

The suspects were both questioned and have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks are notorious for preying on vulnerable people in financial hardship. This criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in London and we will continue to work with our partners to eradicate illegal money lenders in communities.

“We urge victims of loan sharks to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us bring these unscrupulous lenders to justice.”

Acting Police Sergeant Kev Webster from the Metropolitan Police: “Unlicensed Money Lending causes distress and despair for so many and leaves people living in fear of threats and intimidation. Two arrests have been made by officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood teams and the investigations are ongoing. Today’s action demonstrates there is no place for illegal money lending in London.”

A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) (London) spokesperson, said: “GAIN aims to ensure that government agencies along with law enforcement will help reduce the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost effective way. This operation has involved months of collaborative hard work by GAIN who are dedicated to disrupting and dismantling criminal enterprises.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 400 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 586 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £83 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 30,000 people.

To report a loan shark and access specialist support, call the 24/7 confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or complete an online form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.