A SUSPECTED loan shark was arrested after raids in Wirral.

Specialist officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team, working in partnership with Merseyside Police and Wirral Trading Standards, executed search warrants at a residential property in Prenton and business premises in Moreton on Wednesday. 

The suspected loan shark, a 48-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering and is currently being questioned in custody.

Documentation and electronic devices were also seized as part of the investigation.

Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: "Loan sharks are highly manipulative and deceitful as they gain people's trust when they are at their most vulnerable and exploit them for financial gain.

"We will continue to work with our partners to gather intelligence and take action against those suspected of being involved in illegal money lending activities.

"We would urge anyone who believes they may be the victim of a loan shark to come forward at the earliest opportunity and report their concerns so we can offer our support and protect them."

Wirral Council Leader, Cllr Pat Hackett, said: "It is often the most vulnerable in our communities who are preyed upon by loan sharks who intimidate them and make them feel frightened, not just for themselves, but for members of their family.

"Loan sharks can cause absolute misery for the people they lend money to and we will work with all our partners to bring these illegal money lenders to justice.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 400 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to 586 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £83 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 30,000 people.