A loan shark from Tooting has been jailed after pocketing more than £700,000 from his victims.

Bradley Belloni, 38, of Chasefield Road was handed a 13-month jail term at Kingston Upon Thames Crown Court on Friday, August 3.

Belloni pleaded guilty to charges of lending money without a licence and money laundering at an earlier hearing on June 29.

On behalf of the prosecution, Thaiza Khan told the court that the defendant had been operating as an unlicensed lender between September 2014 and July 2017.

The prosecution added that Belloni had previously worked as a licenced lender for online pay day loan companies.

The defendant began his illegal money lending business shortly after his employer was instructed to cease lending in August 2014.

He ran his illegal enterprise from his home for almost three years and pocketed more than £726,000 from 135 victims.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “This result sends a clear message that loan sharks caught flouting the law will be pursued and prosecuted. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in London boroughs and we will continue to work with our council and police partners to eliminate illegal money lending in communities.

Wandsworth Council’s community safety spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said: “These illicit back street money lenders pose a serious threat to the desperate and vulnerable people they prey on.

“They trap their victims into spiralling levels of debt and in the more extreme cases will use intimidation, threats and even violence to force their victims to pay up. That is why it’s important we do everything we can to put a stop to their criminal activities.”

An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge exorbitant rates of interest to trap people into a spiral of debt.