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Raid inside £ 300,000 home of suspected loan shark as Christmas crackdown launched

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Around 300,000 households across the UK were reportedly victimized by loan sharks, seized passports and pets, and threatened in the streets for their debts.

Last week, a 61-year-old woman was taken away by police after an early morning raid on the IMLT in Bedford following information from a member of the public.

A crackdown has been launched against loan sharks who prey on families in difficulty as Christmas approaches.

A government-backed team has carried out a series of raids across the country alongside police against criminals in a racketeering which grosses £ 700million a year.

Sharks, which regularly charge 100% interest during a pandemic, threaten non-payers with violence and even shame “bad debtors” on social media.

Tony Quigley, who leads the illegal money lending team chasing street gangs, said: “They are ruining lives. We know people who are forced to shoplift for reimbursement or are ordered to provide sexual favors.

Victims among 300,000 households across the UK who are said to have fallen prey have had passports and even pets seized to make them pay off their debts.

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A morning raid in Bedford
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Picture:

South Bedsnews agency_sbna_fairleys)


Last week, the Sunday Mirror joined the IMLT in an early morning raid on the £ 300,000 house of a suspected illegal lender in Kempston, near Bedford, after a member of the public heard.

Supported by the police, they took a 61-year-old woman in a red coat and seized a laptop and papers in search of her semi.

Mr Quigley said: ‘We have received information about this woman. As a result, we got a warrant.

The Home Office team, which includes investigators, lawyers and advisers, carried out similar raids in Merseyside and Leeds.

Sharks’ tactics for flushing out victims struggling with bills and the pressure of Christmas range from psychological to violent.

“The application can be subtle. It can be shameful, ”Quigley said.







Evidence from the raid that will be used for the investigation
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Picture:

South Bedsnews agency_sbna_fairleys)


“Lenders are threatening to send home messages, which impacts their families. We found an online lender who would send a picture of your front door if you didn’t pay. He said we know where you live.

“A debtor was punched in the face by a stranger walking down the street who said ‘pay your debt’ and walked away.

“In other cases, people show up all day and night and threaten people.

“We see more and more using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to create groups where they can lobby with things like, ‘We can’t do loans this week because so and so hasn’t paid. ”

A victim has been warned that she will have her kneecaps broken if she does not pay off a £ 150 loan.







Tony Quigley, who leads the Illegal Money Lending team
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Picture:

South Bedsnews agency_sbna_fairleys)


In a series of messages on WhatsApp, he was told to hand over a bracelet until the loan was paid off.

Mr Quigley added: “I would say illegal money lending takes place in most communities in one form or another.”

Last week’s raid coincided with the IMLT’s online campaign to prevent families from falling prey to loan sharks if they face hardship during the Christmas season.

AllIWantForChristmas offers tips and advice on how to stay safe from illegal money lenders.

The IMLT, which was established in 2004, has so far obtained over 400 lawsuits and related activities and written off £ 87million of illegal debt.

He encourages people to have the courage to buy from criminals.

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