A 71-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offenses following an operation in Scarborough.
The English Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from our Trading Standards Team and North Yorkshire Police to execute a warrant at an address in the Woodlands area on Tuesday 29th March.
Officers seized documents and electronic devices during a search of the property.
The suspect was taken into custody and questioned by investigators. He has since been released under investigation pending further investigation.
Tony Quigley, Illegal Money Lending Team Leader, said: ‘Illegal money lending will not be tolerated in Yorkshire, and we will continue to work with our partners to take action against those who destroy our communities in this way.
“If you were offered a cash loan, threatened because you couldn’t pay, your bank card was taken away from you as collateral, or your debt continues to grow even as you make payments, then you have may have been bitten by a loan shark.
“If you, or someone you know, has experienced any of these things or has knowledge of loan sharking activities, contact our team in confidence. We will help you escape the clutches of these ruthless criminals. “
Matt O’Neill, our Deputy Director of Growth, Planning and Trading Standards, said: “Illegal money lending is unacceptable, and we support the work of the Illegal Money Lending team to prevent activities of loan sharks in the county.
“Illegal moneylenders often start out very friendly and seem to offer the answer to people’s problems, but that quickly changes as debt and interest charges increase. We encourage everyone to follow the advice of the Illegal Lending Team and report any suspected loan sharks.
“As the cost of living puts increasing pressure on household budgets, it is important to seek advice as soon as possible in the event of problematic debt. There are organizations throughout the county that can help for free, such as Citizens Advice, Stepchange Debt Charity and National Debtline.
In a new report published last week, Swimming with Sharksthe Center for Social Justice (CSJ) reveals there could be up to 1.08 million people in debt to loan sharks in England, with some moneylenders demanding sexual favors as repayment from borrowers.
Pay attention to these warning signs when dealing with loan sharks:
- not giving you any documents or loan agreement
- refusal to give you information about the loan
- keep items until the debt is paid such as your bank card or passport
- take things from you if you don’t pay on time
- add more interest or fees so the debt never goes down
- use intimidation or violence if you don’t pay
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 helpline confidentially at 0300 555 2222 or access online support at Stop the loan sharks website. Live chat is available on the website between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.