Five arrested following multi agency crackdown on loan sharks.

Five people been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending, following a large scale operation in Stockport this morning.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team worked alongside Greater Manchester Police and Stockport Council, as part of Operation Challenger, a multi agency crackdown on serious organised crime.

Warrants were executed at five addresses in the Brinnington area leading to the arrests of two men aged 29 and 51, and three women; two aged 50, and one aged 34.

During the search documentary evidence was found.

All of the suspects are, currently in custody being questioned by officers from Team.

The Team are now appealing for information from anyone believes they may have borrowed from an illegal money lender, to assist the investigation.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Team’s 24/7 hotline on 0300 555 2222 to speak to a trained investigator in confidence.

Illegal money lenders will often:

  • Appear friendly at first.
  • Offer little or no paperwork.
  • Be unclear on the terms of the loan.
  • Increase the debt and additional amounts sporadically.
  • Take items ‘as security’ on the loan.
  • Use threats, violence and intimidation to enforce the debt.

Detective Inspector Chris Mossop from Greater Manchester Police said: “Today has been a great success and I would like to thank all partner agencies that have contributed to our fight against organised crime. The hard work and commitment of our officers has secured a significant number of arrests and seizures, but we will not stop here. ”

“With the help of the general public and this multi-agency approach, Operation Challenger will continue to pursue and destroy organised crime gangs and give communities back to law-abiding residents.”

Councillor Mark Weldon, Deputy Leader of Stockport Council, said: “The Stockport Safer Partnership supports the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team. Illegal money lending is a corrosive activity that preys on disadvantaged people in our communities. Money that should be in the hands of hard pressed families ends up funding the lifestyles of hardened criminals.”

“Stockport has an established Credit Union which offers financial services to people who live and work in Stockport. They can be contacted on 0161 430 5808. We’d urge people to contact the Credit Union or Stockport Council if they are experiencing money problems or need advice.”

Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “We are continuing to crack down on illegal money lending and related criminality bringing offenders to justice. This multi agency approach has been proven to be highly effective and has already secured convictions.”

“We are sending a constant message that loan sharks should be avoided at all costs and would urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark or knows of someone who has to contact us in confidence as we can help you. The hotline is open 24/7 on 0300 555 2222.”

Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 309 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 195 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