Hornchurch loan shark convicted

A loan shark who kept diaries filled with the names of his victims owing thousands of pounds has received a suspended jail term and community work.

Jagdev Singh Dhillon, 56, of Nelmes Way, Hornchurch, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday after admitting illegal money lending and laundering.

His 12-month sentence was suspended for 24 months and he was ordered to pay �5,000 in prosecution costs and complete 200 hours of community work.

It follows an investigation by the Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Havering Council.

Investigators searched Dhillon’s home as part of a two-day crackdown on loan sharks in east London.

They found diaries containing the names of local residents and thousands of pounds they owed, dating from March 2003 to October 2010.

The Illegal Money Lending Team said one victim was swindled out of more than �7,000 after taking out a �1,500 loan.

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Another victim who took out a �15,000 loan was made to pay back �100 every week over five years – the equivalent of �26,000. Yet when the victim asked Dhillon how much was still owed, he was told �7,000. Investigators said victims were made to hand over �1,000 cheques as security loans.

A further investigation is now under way by Tower Hamlets Council to determine the total profit the loan shark made.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for public protection, said after the hearing: “We are pleased with this outcome. We are working with the Illegal Money Lending Team and will do everything we can to assist in bringing these people, who prey on the vulnerable residents of Havering, to court.”

The Illegal Money Lending Team is part of the Stop Loan Sharks Project which has seen almost �40million of illegal debt written off.