Man arrested on suspicion of loan sharking

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A 40-YEAR-OLD man been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending after an operation in Sunderland.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Northumbria Police executed a warrant at a residential address in the Washington area seizing cash and documentation.

The suspect is in custody assisting officers from the team with their enquiries.

Coun James Blackburn, responsible for City Services at Sunderland City Council said: “Anyone who suspects unlicensed money lending should report it immediately to the Illegal Money Lending Team hotline 0300 555 2222.

This kind of lending is illegal and the City Council works closely with its partners in the Illegal Money Lending Team to identify and prosecute loan sharks.”

Paul Stewart, Neighbourhood Inspector for Washington, said: “Northumbria Police is aware that illegal money lending does take place, particularly in this tough financial climate.

“Illegal money lenders target those people in the community who are vulnerable and generate a spiral of debt which victims can’t get out of.

“We are determined, with our partners, to put disrupt this activity and put loan sharks out of business. I hope today’s action demonstrates just that.

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 300 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 190 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.