A 45 year old man was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending, following an operation in South Leeds this week.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with West Yorkshire Joint Services Trading Standards and West Yorkshire Police executed a warrant at an address in Middleton. The suspect was questioned by officers from the team whilst in custody, he has now been released.
Following this arrest The IMLT is appealing for information about illegal money lending in the South Leeds area.
Jacqui Kennedy, Head of the IMLT said:
“We understand how difficult it can be for people to come forward, but we would like to reassure the public that there is help available. Loan sharks will exploit and extort their borrowers and often resort to the most extreme methods to enforce repayment. We will not tolerate this, and working to bring justice to offenders.
“Anypiece of information, no matter how small, can make a real difference in ridding our communities of this crime. If you can help us please call 0300 555 2222 where your call will be treated in the strictest confidence”
Loansharks will usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. They operate without a licence and are committing a criminal offence. The public are urged to avoid and report lenders who:
- Offer little or no paperwork;
- Are unclear on the terms of the loan;
- Increase the debt or add additional amounts at random;
- Take items as security including passports and bank cards and;
- Resort to threats, violence and intimidation to enforce the loan
People who have been the victim of a loan shark have not committed a crime. Debts from an illegal money lender are unenforceable without an order from the court.
Inspector Jon Arrowsuch of WestYorkshire Police, who heads the Inner South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“Protecting local communities from harm is our top priority and we work closely alongside our partner agencies to achieve that end.
“Loan sharks often prey on some of the most vulnerable in society and we simply cannot tolerate those who operate illegal money lending businesses backed up by threats and intimidation.”
Leeds City Council and the IMLT are also today unveiling a new video featuring a Leeds man who suffered at the hands of local loan sharks and is now living a new life away from threats and poverty. He tells his story here www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmic and urges people who are have borrowed from illegal lenders to come forward for help.
To report a loan shark:
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject