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Great Sankey man guilty of running illegal loan shark business
6:30pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A GREAT Sankey man who led an illegal loan shark racket and was found with a loaded gun and ammunition in his luxury home has been found guilty.
John Radford, aged 57, was found guilty by a jury at Chester Crown Court today, Thursday, following a 12 day trial.
He was joined in the dock by Paul Holman, aged 35, from Halewood in Knowsley, and Sindy Hope, aged 50 from Runcorn who were also convicted.
They were convicted of running the illegal money lending business between October 2010 and the point of their arrest in March 2012, lending to individuals in the Halton and Liverpool areas.
Radford was previously convicted of two firearms offences following a trial earlier in the year, after a loaded gun and a quantity of ammunition was uncovered in March 2012 when officers from the England Illegal Money Lending Team, assisted by Cheshire Police executed a warrant at his home. In addition over £17,000 was seized from safes at his home.
Following his arrest he was remanded in custody and, after being found guilty, sentenced to eight years in prison for possession of the gun, and two years for possession of the ammunition to be served concurrently.
Clr David Keane, executive board member for environment and public protection at Warrington Borough Council, said: "The results of this case should send out a clear message - illegal money lending will not be tolerated, we are working hard to catch these criminals and will take whatever action necessary.
"In Warrington we are fully aware of the impact illegal money lending can have on people and families which is why we are supporting the recently launched Warrington Money Box, in Warrington Market, which offers ethical and affordable financial services, through Warrington Credit Unions."
Tony Quigley Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said “Illegal lenders are a scourge on our communities. Motivated by greed, they draw extortionate amounts of money from vulnerable people, leaving them in financial difficulty.
"As this case exemplifies illegal money lending often links in with serious criminal activity. It is a crime that will not be tolerated.
"We would urge anyone aware of any illegal money lending activity to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 so we can take action. Our lines are open 24/7 and callers can remain anonymous”
DI Dave Blood, from Cheshire Police's Financial Investigation Unit, said: "Through the close working relationship between Cheshire Police, the Illegal Money Lending Team and other agencies - a dangerous criminal, who preyed on the vulnerable people of Cheshire, profiting from fear and bringing misery to local communities, has been brought to justice.
"Cheshire Police is committed to continuing to work in partnership to alleviate distress and hardship within local communities caused by unlicensed money lenders.
"We will not tolerate any sort of behaviour that has a negative effect on the quality of life of local people and we would urge anyone with any concerns regarding illegal money lending to seek the appropriate help and advice."
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