Menacing loan shark from Manchester sentenced
A 32 year old man who operated as a loan shark in the Openshaw area of Manchester, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years following a hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday (17th Dec)
David Bowie of Manshaw Road was investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Manchester City Council. He must also undertake 200 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, and adhere to a curfew between 9pm and 6am for 56 days.
Bowie started the illegal business in March this year and operated for four months up to the point of his arrest in July. Although the business was in it’s infancy it had grown markedly since it’s inception.
During that time, he had given out a total of 43 loans to 21 individuals, and was expecting a return of nearly £9000. Borrowers were usually made to pay back double the amount they had borrowed, and no paperwork was ever provided to them.
When officers from the Team executed a warrant at Bowie’s girlfriend’s address they found three notebooks, with details of the illegal business and a mobile phone containing text messages which provided further evidence he had been arranging and collecting loans.
On behalf of the prosecution Kate Rogers told the court how notes within the books showed a sinister side to the business, suggesting he was looking to break into a victim’s empty home or burn their car.
Victims described how Bowie had made threats to enter their home and take their TV, with some saying how frightened they were of him.
In passing sentencing His Honour Judge Stockdale stated that the offence was not only unlawful but a menacing activity. He said that although they were modest sums and it was not a sophisticated operation, the interest rate was very high between, 75% and 100%. The Judge stated that Bowie had chased up his debts using threats, intimidation and aggression and noted that trading of this sort caused insecurity, fear, injury and depravation to some.
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “We are continuing to stop loan sharks in their tracks and bring them to justice through the courts. We were able to quickly put an end to Bowie’s illegal business before it grew bigger, and before more people were affected.
Loan sharks can have a massive impact on individuals and communities, with people trapped in spiralling debt and living each day in fear. We are continuing to crack down on this despicable crime and would urge anyone who has been a victim to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 so we can take action.”
Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council's executive member for the environment, said: "I realise that - particularly at this time of year - a lot of people feel they have nowhere to go but to a loan shark like Bowie, and I would urge them to contact one of Manchester's many credit unions instead."
Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured more than 300 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading more than 190 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost £42 million 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 www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject
For more information about this case contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119. To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430.
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 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 £43 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 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.