The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in conjunction with officers from Wandsworth Council’s trading standards team and the Metropolitan Police, executed a warrant at a residential address in Tooting, seizing documentation, electronic devices and a quantity of cash.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks prey on some of the most vulnerable members in our society and so it’s vitally important we work with key organisations to combat illegal money lending and protect residents.
“Today’s operation sends out a clear message to all those involved in this type of criminal activity that we will not tolerate loan sharks in London boroughs. We urge residents who have fallen victim to this crime to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us bring these unscrupulous lenders to justice.”
Wandsworth’s spokesman on Community Safety Cllr Guy Senior said: “We strongly support the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team and their ongoing efforts to tackle unscrupulous lenders and loan sharks who pose such a threat to some of the most vulnerable members of society.
“Here in Wandsworth we’ve helped set up a local credit union so that people on low incomes who find themselves excluded from mainstream banks and credit companies can obtain an affordable, safe and ethical loan. Our advice would always be to contact the credit union and steer clear of the sharks.”
Wandsworth Plus Credit Union provides a safe and legal alternative to loan sharks and give residents access to affordable loans and secure savings. For more information call (020) 7471 2620 or visit www.wandsworthpluscu.co.uk.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 382 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.
The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales. The National Trading Standards Board has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.