Romford man Stephen Basstoe convicted of being loan shark

A 41-year-old Romford man has been convicted of illegal money lending, money laundering and blackmail following a seven day trial at Basildon Crown Court.

Stephen Basstoe, of Eastern Road, was investigated and prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team working in partnership with Havering Council Trading Standards and the police.

Basstoe ran his illegal business between December 2008 until his arrest in February 2011, the court head on Thursday of last week.

He is due to be sentenced on Monday October 29.

Cllr Geoff Starns, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It is so important that this loan shark has been caught and taken off the streets of Havering.

“We don’t want any of our residents falling victim to these illegal lenders. They prey on the vulnerable and use despicable threats and intimidation while carrying out their crimes.

“We would urge any of our residents who are considering going down this route that no matter how desperate you feel – loan sharks are not the answer. If you are in financial difficulty, speak to your bank or any lenders first to let them know your situation, there are also many organisations which can help, your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau is a good place to start.”

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Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks are a scourge on our communities, causing nothing but misery and fear. As we continue to investigate and prosecute offenders, we are sending a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated. We would urge anyone who is involved with a loan shark to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”