Three suspected loan sharks were arrested this morning (14 August) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering, following an operation in Brixham.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service and Devon and Cornwall Police executed warrants at four residential addresses in Higher Brixham, seizing documentation and electronic devices.

Two men, aged 37 and 44 years-old and a 69 year-old woman are being questioned in custody.

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

“Loan sharks bring great misery to communities across the country. They prey on vulnerable people and use callous enforcement methods to get their money back. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in Torbay and we will continue to work with our council and police partners to stamp out illegal money lending.

“We urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us bring these unscrupulous lenders to justice.”

Neighbourhood Team Leader Sgt Lee Langley said:

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

"As a result, two men aged 37 and 44 years old and a woman in her late 60s were arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and other related offences. The suspects are currently being questioned in police custody.

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

Stephen Gardiner, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Interventions Manager said:

“Illegal money lending often involves extortionate rates which trap victims in a cycle of debt. Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service are happy to assist the Illegal Money Lending Team in investigations which will help protect our local communities.”

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:

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