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Great Sankey man accused of offering illegal loans
6:50am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A GREAT Sankey man has gone on trial facing claims he was ‘centre piece' of a loan shark business offering illegal loans.
Chester Crown Court heard on Tuesday how John Radford led the loan shark outfit, running it from his high security home on Park Road.
The 57-year-old is accused of recruiting Sindy Hope, of Castle Rise, Runcorn, and Paul Holman, of Redpoll Grove, Liverpool, to offer 'hundred and hundreds' of cash loans without a licence.
The loan sharks are accused of lending out sums of hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash.
In one deal Radford is said to have collected £318,000 after loaning out £168,660 with loan agreements recovered by police.
A loan of 60,400 returned 125,000.
All three defendants deny charges of running an illegal money lending business.
Holman also denies a charge of blackmail.
Ben Mills, prosecuting, said police and Illegal Money Lending Team officers raided the home of Radford on March 14 last year.
It was protected by high walls, a large gate and cameras that linked to screens in an upstairs bedroom.
During the search £ 18,000 was recovered from a safe, and £4,500 from a bedroom.
"You might wonder why Mr Radford had that cash?", said Mr Mills.
"He had it because he was a money lender.
"His business was making profit out of lending money to people, more particularly, by the time officers came to his house, by doing it illegally.
"The three defendants effectively ran a money lending business far from the restraints of regulation."
The court heard that to lend money a licence must be granted by the Office of Fair Trading.
Radford successfully applied for a five year licence in 2005, a move Mr Mills called 'window dressing'.
The application was made under company name John Radford Credit and Loan Company.
Two years later Radford moved to Great Sankey and operated under a new name - Sherlock Finance Company Limited.
The court heard that was illegal as the licence was only valid under the registered name.
Mr Mills said the change of name was 'to avoid anyone looking at the business'.
Radford will claim his daughter notified the OFT about the change in name, and that an administration error was to blame for it not being registered.
The defendant also denies continuing to run the business after the licence expired on October 1 2010.
Mr Mills said he continued to act as a loan shark 'without a licence at all'.
The court heard Radford will claim he informed the OFT his licence expired and was told he could continue without making a new application, despite that breaching Government regulations.
The trial continues.