Money lender facing prison sentence over illegal operation

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A MAN is facing a jail sentence after pleading guilty to running an illegal money lending operation worth £25,000.

Shaun West, 49, yesterday pleaded guilty to three offences of carrying on a consumer credit business without a licence when he appeared at Leeds Crown court.

The offences took place between January 2009 and October 2011. West, of Swithenbank Avenue, Osset, Wakefield, pleaded not guilty to six similar charges dating back to 2003, and a charge of possessing money gained from a criminal enterprise.

Prosecutor Simon Mortimer said the pleads were acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Mortimer said: “It involved loans being made and profits being made in the region of £25,000 over three years.”

At an earlier hearing before magistrates, Mr Mortimer described West’s activities as “not a vast, but a tidy little business of illegal money lending.”

The case was adjourned for reports and West will return to the court on November to be sentenced. The court heard the offences carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.

West was granted bail until the next hearing but was warned by Judge James Spencer QC that all sentencing options remained open, including custody.

West spoke only to confirm his name and enter pleas to the charges during the short hearing.

West was charged after a long investigation by the government’s England Illegal Money Lending team in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

He was arrested after a warrant was executed at his home in October last year.

David Lodge, divisional manager at West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: “Working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, we are cracking down on illegal lending which causes nothing but misery in our communities.

“We would continue to urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark or who knows of anyone who has to call the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.direct.gov.uk”

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