Cumbria loan shark Paul Gilpin ordered to pay £50,000

A loan shark who made more than £250,000 through illegal loans has been told to pay £50,000 or face prison.

Paul Gilpin, 39, of Egremont, Cumbria, illegally lent more than 40 people money, charging them exorbitant fees.

In once case he lent £700 and charged a £400 fee while in another he charged £10 on a £30 loan.

The order to pay the money follows a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Carlisle Crown Court.

Prosecutors explained during the initial trial that Gilpin had made about £256,000 from his illegal money lending business in Thorny Road over a period of six years.

Gilpin pleaded guilty to illegal money lending and money laundering in November and was given two nine-month custodial sentences, suspended for 24 months, as well as 250 hours' community service.

No witnesses testified against him, and he was convicted following a confession after police discovered an informal accounts book detailing income from his illegal enterprise.

'Stark warning'

His assets included the value of his home, £3,850 in cash which had been seized by the investigations team and around £9,000 in bank accounts.

Angela Jones, from Cumbria County Council trading standards, said the ruling was "great news" and would hopefully serve as a "stark warning" to others.

A spokeswoman for the trading standards' illegal money lending team, said part of the cash would be reinvested into the community where Gilpin operated.

She said it was "very, very rare" that victims received a portion of any money recouped under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In this case, the spokeswoman said, insufficient records made it difficult to identify which victims had lost specific amounts of money, meaning it was highly unlikely any would receive compensation.

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