Suspected loan shark arrested after cash and documents seized during Northampton raid
Specialist team issues warning about turning to dodgy lenders to cover cost of Christmas
A 47-year-old suspected loan shark has been arrested following a raid in Northampton.
Investigators from the specialist England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working alongside West Northamptonshire Council Trading Standards and Northamptonshire Police executed a warrant at a residential address in the Cliftonville neighbourhood on Tuesday morning (December 7).
Officers seized cash, documentation and electronic devices during a search of the property.
A spokesman confirmed on Wednesday morning that the woman was later released after questioning over illegal lending and money laundering, but remains under investigation.
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 Northamptonshire and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.”
Estimates say 310,000 people owe money to illegal lenders in the UK and families across the county are being urged not to resort to predatory loan sharks to cover the cost of Christmas.
The IMLT launched its annual Christmas campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks and promote the support available for victims.
The #AllIWantForChristmas campaign is running across the Stop Loan Sharks social media channels and features advice and tips on how to stay safe from illegal money lenders:
■ Watch out for loans with no no paperwork or agreement
■ Lenders who refuse to give information about the loan
■ Keeping items such as a bank card or passport until the debt is paid
■ Taking things from you if you don't pay on time
■ Adding extra interest or charges so the debt never goes down
■ Using intimidation or violence if you don't pay
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 HERE. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team was set up in 2004, initially as a pilot scheme in Birmingham, to investigate loan sharks.
Since then it has supported more than 30,000 people and written off over £87million worth of illegal debt.