Tackling the loan sharks

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) was set up in 2004. Initially created as a pilot scheme in Birmingham to investigate loan sharks, it had such an impact on illegal money lending it received further government funding and is still going strong today. Here Tony Quigley, Head of Service, shares some more detail about their work.

Today the England IMLT investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while, at the time, supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark. Illegal Money Lending Teams in Scotland and Wales ensure the entire UK is working to stop loan sharks. Each team is comprised of specialist investigators and Liaise Officers who have previously worked for the police, trading standards, and debt advice services. Together the investigators and Liaise Officers work to prosecute illegal money lenders.

Currently, it is estimated that there are 310,000 households in debt to illegal money lenders in the UK. The Illegal Money Lending Teams within the UK work to raise awareness of what illegal money is while also investigating and prosecuting loan sharks. The team work as Stop Loan Sharks within local communities, within education, and with partner agencies including the police. Since 2004, the England IMLT have supported over 28,000 people and written off over £73,700,000 of debt.

Loan sharks often target vulnerable people, those who for whatever reason, would struggle to access credit. For this reason, it is vitally important that these people are supported and helped to access more legitimate, affordable type of credit.

To report a loan shark, call the 24 hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222 to speak to a member of the team or visit www.stoploansharks.uk for more information.

If you would like to know more about the unit or ways in which you can offer support, please get in touch.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service, IMLT