A MAN accused of running an illegal money lending operation has appeared in court.
Sean West, 49, of Swithenbank Avenue, Ossett, faces nine charges related to lending money without a licence.
He is also accused of being in possession of money gained from a criminal enterprise.
West appeared before city magistrates on Friday afternoon.
The offences were said to have taken place between 2003 and October 2011.
Prosecuting, Simon Mortimer, said: “The allegation is that since 2003 Mr West has been operating not a vast, but a tidy little business of illegal money lending.”
West spoke only to confirm his name, address and age during the short hearing.
He was granted unconditional bail until his next appearance at Leeds Crown Court in October.
West was charged after a long investigation by the government’s England Illegal Money Lending team in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
He was arrested after a warrant was executed at his home in October last year.
Speaking outside the hearing, David Lodge, divisional manager at West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: “Working with the England Illegal Money Lending Team, we are cracking down on illegal lending which causes nothing but misery in our communities.”
He added: “We would continue to urge anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark or who knows of anyone who has to call the team in confidence on 0300 555 2222.”
For help contact the advice line, text ‘loanshark’ and your message to 60003, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. uk, log on to www.direct.gov.uk