News item

Hull loan shark described as ‘Underworld Gangster’ sentenced to 12 years in prison

A 46 year old man who operated as a loan shark in Hull as well as committing a string of other offences, has been sentenced to a total of twelve years in prison following a hearing at Hull Crown Court.

Darren Wilson, of Appin Close, Bransholme pleaded guilty to seven counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering at a hearing in June.

The illegal money lending investigation and prosecution was led by the England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Hull City Council. 

For each of the seven counts for illegal money lending and the counts of money laundering he was sentenced to two years in prison to be served concurrently to an eight year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder and a consecutive four year sentence for conspiracy to commit arson. He was also given a concurrent four year sentence for drugs offences. All of these other offences were investigated by Humberside Police.

Wilson ran the illegal money lending business for nearly six years from January to 2006 to 13th December 2012, the date he was arrested by the England Illegal Money Lending Team after they executed a warrant at his home.

During the search documentary evidence of the illegal business was seized along with £3795 in cash.

The records found show that a total of 461 loans had been dealt out, totalling nearly £210,000 . This doesn’t take into account any loans which weren’t recorded and any where the documentation was discarded.

Typically between 50 and 100% interest was added on to the loans, which meant that in many cases people were paying back double the amount they had borrowed.  Investigators also found a number of text messages on Wilson’s phone which provided further evidence that he had been offering and collecting loans. 

Upon sentencing His Honour Judge Mettyear described Wilson as acting like “An underworld gangster”

A financial investigation under proceeds of crime legislation is ongoing.

The chairman of the National Trading Standards Board Lord Toby Harris said: "Loan sharks target the most vulnerable in society and often trap them for years – even decades – with crippling repayments, destroying lives of individuals and their families.

“Trading standards are working extremely hard to tackle these despicable criminals –the specialist Illegal Money Lending Team, funded by the National Trading Standards Board, is making a real difference in communities all over the country. The team provides a safe haven enabling victims to come forward and works together with local authority trading standards services, and other partners, to bring loan sharks to justice.

“We would urge anyone in the grips of a loan shark to call 0300 555 2222 in confidence to report the criminal and to get help.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “This case exemplifies how illegal money lending is often linked into wider criminality. We are continuing to crack down on offenders and bring them to justice through the courts. Loan sharks are motivated by their own greed and will trap borrowers into spiralling debt with exorbitant amounts of interest added.

We would urge people to steer clear of loan sharks and to report the crime if they have been a victim. Anyone with information can call our hotline 24/7 on 0300 555 2222. Calls are treated in the strictest confidence and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.”

Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured 297 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading more than 188 years worth of custodial sentences. The Teams have written off £42million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222 

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 


Private message us on


For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email 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

Notes to editors

Darren Wilsons custody photograph can be obtained from Humberside Police press office on 01482 578391

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 297 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 188 years-worth of custodial sentences. The Teams have written off £42million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims

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: 3 December 2013