East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton has said that figures provided by the Minister of Justice confirm those engaged in illegal money lending operate with little risk.
The Justice Committee member said, “The
scourge of the illegal money lenders is a high-income yet low risk
criminal enterprise. That within three years no one has been
successfully prosecuted for this blood-sucking type of criminality will
be viewed by the law-abiding public as very disturbing.
Justice Minister recently launched the 'Ending the Harm' campaign aimed
at highlighting the dangers of illegal money lending and the
paramilitary gangs who engage in this crime and exploit vulnerable
campaign to raise awareness and to signpost help for people affected is
worthwhile, but there is also a need for action to be stepped up in
terms of a strategy to actually put those responsible for this crime
behind bars. Part of that obviously does require dealing with the fear
felt by those who have been affected but are unwilling to even report
would encourage the Justice Minister to develop a specific focus on
this crime, particularly given the stark fact that no-one has been
prosecuted within the last three years. This should happen urgently
given the huge impact it has on people who are already struggling to get
It is an evil and menacing aspect within society that a video campaign will not stop. The Minister needs specific and targeted police action to arrest the thugs bleeding dry those least able to defend themselves."