A 33-year-old man was arrested in Luton this morning on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) working in partnership with officers from Luton Borough Council’s Trading Standards and Bedfordshire Police executed a warrant at an address in Hart Hill.
Electronic devices and the suspect has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, head of IMLT, said: “Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on vulnerable communities, charging exorbitant rates of interest and using fear and intimidation to recover monies ‘owed’.
“This criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Bedfordshire and we will continue to work with our council and police partners to eradicate illegal money lenders from communities.
“We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”
Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for trading standards, added: “These immoral money lenders take advantage of the most vulnerable people in our community and so we fully support the work carried out by the Illegal Money Lending Team.
“If you find yourself in need of having to borrow money our advice would always be to check with the Financial Services Register so you make sure a lender is legitimate. Don’t get caught out - steer clear of the sharks”.
Nationally, IMLT has secured more than 382 prosecutions against loan sharks, 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.