A SUSPECTED loan shark has been arrested in Southampton.

The 51-year-old woman was detained on Wednesday by officers from national organisation, The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).

It followed a swoop on a home in Midanbury, Southampton, in which officers seized documentation, electronic devices and a "quantity" of cash.

The suspect, who was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending and money laundering, has since been released pending further investigation.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: "Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities and extort them out of hard earned cash.

"We will continue to work with local authority and police partners to stamp out this awful crime."

The investigation by the IMLT was undertaken in partnership with Southampton City Council Trading Standards and Hampshire Constabulary.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure, said: "The council is fully supportive of the arrest of a loan shark based in Southampton as a result of an investigation led by the Illegal Money Lending Team.

"This action sends out a strong message that illegal activity that targets vulnerable people will not be tolerated in our city.

“Anyone with financial concerns can find help on the council's website by searching for money and debt advice."

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams has secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 329 years’ worth of custodial sentences.

The national organisation has written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.

Last month, the IMLT launched a campaign in which loan shark victims spoke about their experiences.

The national week-long campaign, named 'Why I Borrowed', was supported locally by Southampton City Council.

Anyone with information about illegal money lending in your area or you would like to report a loan shark because you have fallen victim, should contact: 0300 555 2222.