Ruthless loan shark jailed

A RUTHLESS loan shark who “terrorised” an Ipswich couple who borrowed money from him has been jailed for eight months.

Jane Hunt

A RUTHLESS loan shark who “terrorised” an Ipswich couple who borrowed money from him has been jailed for eight months.

Carl Adams, who has a history of convictions for violence, ran his illegal money-lending business for nearly 14 years and during the last six years collected around �50,000 from his “clients”, Ipswich Crown Court has heard.

Among Adams' victims was Ipswich couple Dennis Cummings and his wife Melanie who were threatened and intimidated by Adams.

On one occasion when Mr Cummings was off work suffering from stress he was punched in the face by Adams when he couldn't meet his weekly repayments and offered to give him his mobile phone instead.

On other occasions the couple, who ended up having to leave their home, handed over Play Station and Nintendo games consoles to Adams when he didn't have the money to pay him, said Lee Bennett, prosecuting.

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Adams, 38, of Spenser Road, Ipswich, admitted illegal money lending, acquiring criminal property and concealing criminal property.

Jailing him for eight months, Judge David Goodin said the case comfortably crossed the custody threshold.

He said Adams had “terrorised” Mr and Mrs Cummings in order to get the “considerable repayments” he felt to be his due.

He described Adams' loan shark business as “illegal and ruthless”.

In addition to jailing him for eight months, Judge Goodin confiscated �7,000 found in a tin at Adams' home and ordered that �1,780 of that money be paid to Mr and Mrs Cummings.

Mr Bennett told the court that Adams had operated as an illegal money lender for nearly 14 years and at the time of his arrest in May 2009 had between 30 and 35 clients, from whom he was collecting between �150 and �200 a week.

He said it was difficult to give percentage figures on the interest charged by Adams. “It is fair to say that it wasn't cheap credit,” he said.

He said Adams hadn't kept records of how much had been borrowed by Mr and Mrs Cummings and how much they had repaid.

The court heard that Mr Cummings had initially taken out a car loan with Adams and between 2003 and 2009 had borrowed �2,000.

Mrs Cummings had kept a record of weekly repayments made to Adams between August 2008 and May 2009 and these amounted to �1,780.

Ian Duckworth, for Adams, said he was a single parent and had a 13-year-old son.

He said Adams lived in local authority housing and was on benefits. “There are no trappings of a luxurious lifestyle,” he told the court.

He handed in a number of references to the court including two from elderly neighbours who thought highly of him.

He said Adams had admitted his wrong-doing at an early stage and had avoided the Cummings coming to court to give evidence.

After yesterday's hearing Reg Ruffles, Assistant County Trading Standards Officer, said: “This is a fantastic result for Suffolk Trading Standards and the illegal money lending team and demonstrates the way we work successfully with our partners to deliver exceptional results.

“This sentencing will send a stark warning to anyone who is carrying out the same thing that we will find you and we will act fast to protect the vulnerable people you are exploiting.”