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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Suspected loan sharks arrested in Carlisle raids

Two suspected loan sharks have been arrested following raids in Carlisle.

Angela Jones photo
Angela Jones

The men, both aged 24, were arrested following a joint operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Cumbria County Counci.

Officials from the organisations executed a warrant at two residential properties in the city, seizing various documents.

The pair were questioned on suspicion of illegal money lending in Carlisle, and were released on bail yesterday morning, pending further investigation, until May.

Angela Jones, manager of Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards department, said: “Loan sharkstarget some of the mostvulnerable members of our communities and can leave untold misery in their wake.

“By working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team we’re doing our utmost to eradicateillegal money lending in Cumbria.”

Across the country, the illegal money lending team has secured 222 prosecutions for the crime and related activity, which has led to more than 150 years of custodial sentences.

The team has managed to write off almost £40m worth of illegal debt, and help more than 19,000 victims.

Loan sharks rarely offer paperwork and are unclear on the terms of the loan, so borrowers are completely in the dark as to how much they are actually paying.

Extra amounts and interest payments are added completely at random.

The county council has been carrying out a lot of work to tackle the problem.

Last year Andrea Dockeray, development manager at Whitehaven Egremont and District Credit Union (WEDCU), picked up aTrading Standards Institute’s Hero Awards.

She was nominated for the award by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, for “going above and beyond the normal demands of her job to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks in Cumbria, and encouraging loan shark victims to come forward”.

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 the Illegal Money Lending Team on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

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