The leader of Brent Council has promised to “crack down” on loan sharks as part of a campaign aimed at tackling illegal money lending in north-west London.

Cllr Muhammed Butt said it was important to protect those at risk and stop those seeking to take advantage of them.

It comes following the arrest of a 48-year-old man in Brent on suspicion of money laundering and illegal money lending.

The campaign is being run by the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in partnership with Brent and Harrow Trading Standards and the Metropolitan Police.

Cllr Butt said: “In these hard financial times, loan sharks circle around the most vulnerable members of our community who often feel that they have no other options.

“We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and will continue to work with the national IMLT and other agencies to crack down on this crime, making it impossible for loan sharks to prosper and take advantage of our residents.

“We have been working closely with the community to build financial resilience for residents and to expand the number of affordable and sustainable credit choices.”

The IMLT has secured hundreds of prosecutions relating to illegal money lending, helped tens of thousands of people affected by the issue and has written off millions of pounds worth of illegal debt.

Tom Quigley, head of the IMLT, said his organisation “will not tolerate loan sharks” in London and the rest of the country.

He added that it was “vital” that all organisations work together to help protect residents against those seeking to profit from illegal money lending.