A man has been arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering offences and possession of an offensive weapon, following an operation in Hounslow.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) worked in partnership with officers from the Metropolitan Police to execute a warrant at an address in Heston on Wednesday, September 21.
Officers seized cash, documentation, electronic devices and a knuckle duster during a search of the property.
The IMLT works in partnership with London Borough of Hounslow Trading Standards to investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders.
A 66-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning and has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team said: “We are committed to working with our partners to clamp down on illegal lenders and their exploitative practices.
“Loan sharks cause real pain and suffering to our communities. They offer what appear to be quick fix loans, but trap borrowers in a spiral of debt through extortionate fees and threats of violence.
“If you think you have been targeted by a loan shark or are concerned about someone you know, our national helpline is open 24 hours a day on 0300 555 2222 and offers free and confidential support.”
A report published by the Centre for Social Justice estimated that 1.08 million people may currently owe money to loan sharks, with some lenders demanding sexual favours as repayment from borrowers.
Warning signs to indicate that you could be dealing with a loan shark include giving no paperwork upon the agreement of a loan, refusing to provide detailed information about a loan, intimidation and threats, taking items such as a bank card or passport until the debt is paid, and taking things from you if you do not pay on time.
Anyone with concerns about illegal money lending can contact the Stop Loan Sharks 24/7 Helpline in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or access support online at www.stoploansharks.co.uk. Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
About The Illegal Money Lending Team
The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England, Scotland and Wales work alongside the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to investigate those operating within the consumer credit market without the appropriate authorisation.
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.