A pair of loan sharks who ran an illegal money lending business have been sentenced.

Nicholas David Harris, 59, of Maidstone Road, Enfield, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for 2 years, and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after a hearing at Wood Green Crown Court last Friday.

Chortip Thurahai, 48, of Adine Road, Newham, was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years and received a six-month curfew order.

The defendants had pleaded guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering offences at an earlier hearing.

The case was prosecuted by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Enfield Council and Newham Council Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police Service.

As a result of enquiries, a warrant was executed at Mr Harris’ home address on June 13, 2017. During the search a number of items were seized, including loan agreements stored on an iCloud account and mobile phones.

A search was also carried out at Ms Thurahai’s address where documents containing evidence and £7,000 in cash were seized.

Prosecuting, Isabella Crowdy told the court that the defendants had illegally lent money to 11 individuals during the period of September 8, 2015 to June 8, 2017.

The prosecution added that the pair had issued loans during this period totalling £157,927 and were due to receive interest payments of £83,550 from victims.

The court heard how one victim borrowed money from the defendants to help her sick mother in Thailand who was suffering from throat cancer.

When the victim got into difficulty with her repayments, Ms Thurahai and two other women went round to the victim’s home and demanded £851 from her.

Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks are criminals who prey on vulnerable people and blight communities.

“This result sends a clear message that illegal money lending will not be tolerated and those caught flouting the law will be brought to justice.

“We urge victims of loan sharks to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us put these unscrupulous lenders out of business.”

An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge exorbitant rates of interest to trap people into a spiral of debt.

Enfield Council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Guney Dogan, said: “We are glad that by working together with our partners we have seen this successful prosecution. Loan sharking has an extremely detrimental impact on communities and we hope that this case demonstrates our commitment to pursuing those flouting the law and terrorising vulnerable people.”

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 330 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.