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Warning to SE Cornwall as suspected loan sharks arrested in Plymouth

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in Plymouth.

Cash, documentation and electronic devices were seized following raids on two properties in Devonport and Keyham on 14 July.

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The suspects, aged 27 and 46, were taken into custody as part of the operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Plymouth City Council Trading Standards and Devon and Cornwall police.

The men have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We are working closely with our partners to crack down on loan sharks and make clear that this is a crime that will not be tolerated. Loan sharks can cause misery for their victims, but there is help available and we would urge anyone with any information on illegal money lending activity to call the hotline in confidence. We also offer a live chat facility on our website between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, which allows victims to access practical and emotional support discreetly.”

The IMLT is working hard to raise awareness of alternative forms of lending, such as the City of Plymouth Credit Union, so people in desperate situations don’t feel they have to turn to loan sharks.

Local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies can apply for grants of up to £5,000 for projects that aim to tackle and raise awareness of loan sharks.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “With this kind of activity in Plymouth residents of south east Cornwall are well advised to be extra vigilant on our side of the Tamar. Everyone knows that money.”

“Use the links below for sympathetic help and advice, or have a live chat with the Illegal Money Lending Team who will help you tackle your money problems without feeding this illegal trade in people’s misery.”

Details on funding can be found at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 400 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 586 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £83 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 30,000 people.

To report a loan shark, call the 24/7 confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222, email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or complete an online form at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.

More information

Media enquiries, please contact IMLT Press Officer Holly-Leigh Luckman on 07703373535 or email holly.luckman@birmingham.gov.uk.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England, Scotland and Wales work alongside the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to investigate those operating within the consumer credit market without the appropriate authorisation.

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.