Two men, aged 23 and 73 years-old were arrested this morning (3 May 2018) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering, following an operation in Torbay.

The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service and Devon and Cornwall Police executed warrants at two residential addresses in Brixham and Torquay, seizing documentation, electronic devices and a quantity of cash.

The 23 year-old man was also further arrested on suspicion of assault, blackmail, driving whilst disqualified and possession of a firearm.

The suspects are currently in police custody and are being questioned by officers from the IMLT and Brixham and Paignton Police.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

“Loan sharks are a scourge on our communities; exploiting and extorting borrowers and often resorting to the worst kind of bully tactics to force people into paying back far and above what they have borrowed and can afford.

"We are cracking down on these criminals in partnership with the police and trading standards, and would urge anyone who has been the victim of this crime to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 so we can take action.”

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said:

"Earlier this morning, Brixham and Paignton Police executed two search warrants in support of the National Illegal Money Lending Team in Torquay and in Brixham.

"As a result a 23-year-old man and a man in his 70s were arrested on suspicion of several offences and are in police custody.

"This highlights the successful partnership working between police and The Illegal Money Lending Team.

Paul Thomas, Head of the Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said:

“Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service is happy to work with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to combat loan sharking.

“Illegal money lenders trap their borrowers into debt with astronomical rates of interest. Some intimidate, threaten and even use violence to enforce repayment and we will not tolerate this sort of criminal behaviour in our area.”

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.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject


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