couple sentenced for unlicensed money lending
A couple from Birkenhead
who operated an illegal money lending business have each been
sentenced to 10 months in custody, suspended for 2 years.
Phillip Lowther, 51 and his wife Linda aged 59 both of Alverstone
Avenue were investigated by the England Illegal Money Lending Team
working in partnership with Wirral Borough Council. They pleaded
guilty to illegal money lending at a hearing at Liverpool Crown
Court on Friday, 14 February 2014. In addition to the suspended sentence,
they have been ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.
The pair came to the attention of the team via their confidential
hotline, and had been lending money illegally since their Consumer
Credit Licence lapsed in August 2008.
When officers executed a warrant at their home in June 2013, they
found evidence of the illegal business including payment cards and
books. Further evidence was found at a storage unit, which they
A total of 256 loan agreements were found spanning July 2010 to June
2013. They had at least 45 customers and tended to charge much more
interest than they stated in their documentation. A charge of £70
was made, on average, for each £100 loan.
Their own records showed they received more than £76,000 since their
Upon sentencing His Honour Judge Lewis said:-
designed to protect the financially vulnerable who need money and
have no prospect of getting it elsewhere. This is the evil of the
case there is a need to protect the least able. The court has to
send a message to those who indulge in this trading."
Cllr Brian Kenny, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Environment and
Sustainability, said:- "Whilst there was no suggestion that
intimidation was a factor in this case, the fact is the couple were
unlicensed and lending money illegally; the people borrowing money
therefore had no protection and in many cases were repaying their
loan at a higher rate of interest than their documentation stated.
Working with the Illegal Money Lending Team, our Trading Standards
staff will always take action against loan sharks, regardless of
whether or not they use threats or intimidation."
Tony Quigley Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said:-
"We are continuing to stop illegal lenders in their tracks and
bring them to justice through the courts. Lenders are licensed to
protect consumers, but the Lowther's were operating outside of the
law and profiting at the expense of their victims. We would urge
anyone who has been affected by an illegal money lender, or knows of
someone who has to speak to us in confidence on:- 0300 555 2222, as
we can help."
Nationally the Stop Loan Shark Project has secured 300 prosecutions
for illegal money lending and related activity, leading more than
190 years worth of custodial sentences. They have written off almost
£42 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 23,000 victims.
To report a loan shark:-
Call the 24/7 confidential hotline:- 0300 555 2222.
urged to cash in with simpler accounting
WITH the new tax year just
around the corner, small businesses are being urged to consider a
scheme that allows them to be taxed on money that flows in and out
of their business, rather than using full accounting rules.
The 'cash basis' scheme can be used by sole traders and other
unincorporated businesses with an annual income of less than £79,000
to simplify their accounting processes, saving both time and money.
Using the scheme involves a business simply working out the cash
received in a tax year, less any money spent on allowable business
expenses. This means small businesses won't need to spend time at
the end of the tax year making complex accounting adjustments, and
other calculations designed for larger businesses.
Many small businesses are likely to benefit from the simpliCity of
the cash basis, particularly those providing services, such as
hairdressers, window cleaners, taxi drivers, gardeners, painters and
decorators, plumbers and electricians.
In addition, unincorporated businesses can choose to use 'simplified
expenses'. This involves using flat rates, instead of making
complex calculations of actual business expenses. It can be used for
the following expenses:-
► business costs for vehicles;
► business use of your home;
► private use of a business premises as a home.
HMRC has produced a short
animation and a YouTube
video to help small businesses decide if the
schemes are right for them. Or they can watch one of HMRC's
HMRC's Carol Lunney said:- "The cash basis and simplified
expenses schemes can help save small businesses time and money. With
a new tax year on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking
about them. So, if you're eligible, go online and find out more
about the schemes at GOV.UK."
Further information on the cash basis can be found at
and on simplified expenses at:-
THE next meeting of Southport Access For
Everyone forum will be held at the Victoria Methodist Church, Sussex
Road, Southport, PR8 6DG.
On Monday, 24 February 2014, at 7 pm. This is a free public meeting.
The premises are fully accessible for wheelchair users with adequate
car parking facilities, and light refreshments will be served will
be served before the meeting commences. S.A.F.E. says that:-
"Anyone with an interest in disability issues is welcome."
For further enquiries and information go to the S.A.F.E.
website or telephone:- 07866531036.