Loan sharks in Greater Manchester who illegally lend money and put vulnerable people in debt are being targeted by a team of specialist officers.
Two people have been arrested and remain in custody following a police operation in Bury and Rochdale.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team worked in partnership with Bury and Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council to execute warrants at two addresses and have made two arrests.
The suspects, both men, aged 40 and 42, are said to be assisting officers with their enquiries.
Councillor John Smith, Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs at Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “Illegal money lending is a serious issue, which can have a big impact on people’s lives.
“It is important that the England Illegal Money Lending Team and other agencies work together to help combat this issue and keep our communities safe.”
Funded by the National Trading Standards Board, the Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three illegal money lending teams; England, Scotland and Wales.
The teams work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities all around the country.
Rochdale Council Leader Colin Lambert said: “Our aim is to drive loan sharks out of our borough for good.
“Our relationship with the illegal money lending team means we are moving closer to that goal every day.
“I would urge anybody who needs help to contact the illegal money lending team in confidence.”
Nationally the Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 200 prosecutions since the project was piloted in 2004. It expanded in 2007.
They have written off nearly £40million of illegal debt and helped more than 19,000 victims.
To report a loan shark call the confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, or email [email protected]
Picture courtesy of Images of Money, via Flickr, with thanks.