News item

Manchester trio plead guilty to illegal money lending

Three people, who were arrested as part of a multi agency operation cracking down on illegal money lending have pleaded guilty at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court  today (27 June 2013).

Ian Parsons, 27 of Lakeside Rise, Blackley, Manchester pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering. Christopher Weaver, 36 of Maybury Street, Gorton, Manchester, pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering. Mark Weaver, 35 pleaded guilty to one count of illegal money lending and one count of money laundering. They all remain in custody.

The trio were investigated and prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, in partnership with Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council, after information came to light about their illegal business. Warrants were executed in December and May, and documentary evidence was uncovered.

The trio will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court at a later date.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council's executive member for the environment, said: "Loan sharks are ruthless criminals who target some of the most vulnerable members of society and exploit the fact that the economic downturn has left many people struggling to make ends meet.

"But the days when loan sharks could expect to get away with causing misery are over, and these three are just the latest to be found guilty of this heinous crime. The illegal money lending team is working day and night to send these people where they belong - to prison - and I'd urge anyone with information about loan sharks to call their confidential hotline, while anyone who needs to borrow money should contact one of the many credit unions which work in the city." 

Jacqui Kennedy Director of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “Loan sharks are criminals who extort and exploit the public. Whilst they appear to be offering a community service they are not, and will leave people living each day in misery and fear. 

We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour, and working with the Police, Trading Standards and other agencies we are cracking down on this crime, making it impossible for loan sharks to prosper.

We understand how difficult in can be to report this criminality but we can support you. By calling 0300 555 2222 you can speak to a trained investigator in confidence and anonymously if you wish to help us put an end to this despicable practice.”

Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured 235 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 157 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £40.3 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 20,000 victims.

 

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk 

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

 

***ENDS***

 

For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk

 

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards. 

NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.  The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland. 

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 235 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 157 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £40.3 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 20,000 people.

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. 

DATE: 27 June 2013