Posted on: 28 March 2018
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are appealing for information about loan sharks in Devon.
The Team work in partnership with Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards and Devon and Cornwall Police to investigate and prosecute loan sharks.
This appeal comes after the IMLT carried out a recent operation in Brixham. The Team now need victims to come forward and report loan sharks in confidence to assist with their investigation.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We understand how difficult it can be for loan shark victims to come forward and report, but we would like to reassure the public that help and support is available.
“We are in the early stages of our investigation and have identified potential loan shark victims in the Brixham area. Loan sharks will not be tolerated in Devon and we are working with our council and police partners to bring these offenders to justice.
“Any piece of information, no matter how small, can make a real difference in ridding our communities of this crime. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, please call our confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”
Paul Thomas, Head of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, said: “Loan sharks prey on the vulnerable and those least able to afford such high interest loans. The more information we have the better we can work in partnership to protect our residents and legitimate local businesses from these criminals.”
Loan sharks operate illegally without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced, many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.
If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions you might be borrowing from a loan shark:
• Did they offer you a cash loan?
• Did they not give you paperwork?
• Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
• Have they threatened you?
• Are you scared of people finding out?
• Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.
To report a loan shark call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222
Text a report to 078600 22116. Visit the website.