Suspected loan shark arrested in Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds, Abbey Gardens feature.

An Illegal money lender has been arrested in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Gregg Brown

A 38-year-old man has been arrested in Bury St Edmunds on suspicion of illegal money lending. 

Working in partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, Suffolk Trading Standards and Suffolk Constabulary executed warrants at two addresses in the town on Tuesday, April 12. 

Officers searched the properties and seized documents and electronic devices.

The suspect was then taken into custody for questioning. He has since been released under investigation, pending further enquiries. 

Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We are determined to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks, and we will work with partners to take action against them.

“Loan sharks are criminals that prey on the most vulnerable people in our communities. They trap their victims into spiralling debt and will often use intimidation and violence.

“We will not tolerate these activities in Suffolk and would urge anyone with information about loan sharks to report them as soon as possible.”

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A recent report published by the Centre for Social Justice estimated that more than one million people may currently owe money to illegal money lenders, with some loan sharks demanding sexual favours from their debtors. 

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 give detailed information about a loan, 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. 

Other indicators include the creditor adding more interest or charges so the debt doesn't go down, and using intimidation or violence to secure payment. 

A fund has been made available to local residents, charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies, from which they can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to pay for activities that highlight the dangers of loan sharks.

The funds used for this are raised from money seized from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

People can find out more about the grant at stoploansharks.co.uk/poca-funding/