News item

Suspected loan sharks arrested following operation in Hertfordshire

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending, following an operation in Hertfordshire this morning (26 February).

The England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council executed a warrant at a residential address in Welwyn Garden City seizing a substantial amount of cash and documentation.

The suspects, two males aged 61 and 18, and a female aged 51 are currently in custody being questioned by officers from the Team.

Richard Thake, Executive Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "Whatever your circumstances, don't be tempted to go to a loan shark. If you do find yourself in financial difficulties speak to a credit union or a Citizens’ Advice bureau before doing anything else."

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 308 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 192 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £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 

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 308 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 192 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £42 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. 

DATE: 26 February 2014