Mobile phones and cash were seized this morning in dawn raids at two Woodingdean homes believed to be connected to loan sharks.
Twenty five police officers and trading standards investigators executed warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at addresses in Newells Close and Heronsdale Road. A business unit in Park Lane, Crowborough, was also searched.
They seized mobile phones from the Newells Close address, £1700 cash from the Heronsdale Road address, and financial paperwork from the business unit in Crowborough.
Entry was forced to the Newells Close address as it was unoccupied. At the Heronsdale Road address two men aged 42 and 39 were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
The Trading Standards South East illegal money lending team are investigating possible money lending offences contrary to the Consumer Credit Act.
Enquiries continue and the investigators are keen to hear from anyone in Sussex, and particularly in Brighton and Hove, who has been the victim of loan sharking recently.
Jo Player, Acting Head of Trading Standards at Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Illegal money lenders can prey on some of the most vulnerable members of society charging extortionate interest rates that they are often unable to repay.
“Operations such as this are vital in protecting the public from this type of activity and I would urge members of the public to contact the team if they have any information regarding loan sharking.”
Detective Sergeant David Roughley said: “This is another good example of effective working between law enforcement agencies to target criminality that affects local communities.”
Anyone who would like to report having been such a victim can phone Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999, quoting Operation Cairns, or the separate Trading Standards illegal money lending team hotline on 0300 555 2222. You can also email ‘email@example.com’, or text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003. All calls will be treated in strictest confidence.