A LOAN shark has been ordered to repay more than £100,000 from his ill-gotten gains.

Paul Gladman targeted 50 vulnerable people, mostly from Basildon, to convince them to take out loans.

The 54-year-old was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years with a six-month curfew after admitting illegal money lending earlier this year.

Following a confiscation hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, Gladman, of West Avenue, Chelmsford, was ordered to pay back £60,315 under the Proceeds of Crime Act which helps to stop criminals benefitting financially from their crimes.

He has three months to pay the full amount or face 18 months in prison.

In addition to his confiscation order, the loan shark was also ordered to pay £40,000 in prosecution costs. The case against Gladman was brought by the illegal money lending team after officers, working in partnership with Essex County Council’s Trading Standards and Essex Police, searched his home and business premises in Boreham in September 2016 and seized almost £6,000 in cash and documents containing evidence of illegal money lending.

Prosecutor Stuart Jessop told the court the defendant had been running an illegal money lending business since June 2015.

A financial investigation into the defendant’s illegal activities revealed he was charging victims up to 50 per cent interest on loans and adding penalty surcharges for late and missed payments. During the time he was operating his illegal scheme, Gladman issued 185 loans and collected more than £106,000 from approximately 50 victims.

Head of the unit Tony Quigley said: “POCA ensures loan sharks like Gladman are not profiting from deceitful illegal money lending.

“This result sends a strong message that loan sharks who are caught flouting the law will be prosecuted and stripped of their available assets.

“Loan sharking is an awful crime and will not be tolerated.

“We urge victims to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222 and help us bring these unscrupulous lenders to justice.” Sue Lissimore, Essex County councillor for Trading Standards, said: “We are extremely grateful to the work of the IMLT. This result sends a clear message that carrying out consumer credit activities without the correct permissions will not be tolerated.”