A 64 year-old Burnham-On-Sea man was arrested on Wednesday (January 18th) on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering following an operation in the town.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), working in partnership with Devon and Somerset Trading Standards and Avon and Somerset Constabulary, executed a warrant at the suspect’s home address.

They seized documentation, a quantity of cash and electronic devices during the swoop.

Police say the suspect is currently in custody and is being questioned by IMLT officers.

Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We will continue to work to combat loan sharks. They can cause untold misery to the most disadvantaged in our communities. We would urge anyone with information about loan sharking or victims of loan sharks to contact the team on 0300 555 2222.”

Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader with a responsibility for Trading Standards, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service work closely with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to tackle the evil of loan sharks. Illegal Money Lenders often prey on the most vulnerable in society and those already in a spiral of debt. Action against the sharks can help people to break that spiral.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 368 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 318 years’ worth of custodial sentences.

They have written off £71.75 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,000 people.

To report a loan shark, call the 24/7 confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, Text a report to 078600 22116, or e-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk.