THIS is the face of the loan shark who made tens of thousands of pounds by preying on hard-up people through his money-lending racket.

Paul Brown was this week ordered to pay back more than £100,000 he made by charging clients interest rates up to 14,000 per cent for loans.

The 54-year-old, of Byland Close, St Helen Auckland, County Durham, was jailed for 18 months in 2011 for a string of offences including unlicensed money lending, selling illegally-imported cigarettes and trading in counterfeit goods.

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He had admitted unlicensed money lending to 80 people between 2001 and 2009 and the judge described his operation and ‘large-scale and elaborate’.

His daughter, Jennifer Brown, received a suspended three-month sentence for her role in the racket converting criminal property.

Brown - known in the Bishop Auckland area as Canadian Paul or The Money Man – is now free from prison and attended Teesside Crown Court on Monday for a proceeds of crime hearing.

He did not contest the proceedings but his daughter, who laundered some of her father’s dirty money, did.

Judge Tony Briggs declared that she benefitted by £20,746 and it is understood that property belonging to the pair will now be sold so the money can be paid back.

Last night Sid Rooke, manager of Durham County Credit Union, encouraged people to consider using the financial cooperative rather than turning to unlicensed or high interest lending outfits.

He said: “We are here to encourage people into the savings habit and to provide low cost loans.

“There is an issue with loan sharking, high interest pay day loans at up to 4,000 per cent interest and doorstep lending at 300 per cent APR.

“I’d never criticise anyone for making use of them but sometimes people hit a crisis point and don’t know where else to turn.

“The credit union charges one per cent a month and is safe and regulated.”

Durham County Credit Union runs a collection point at Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre, on Proudfoot Drive, Bishop Auckland, every Thursday, 10am to noon.

Details of other credit union services can be found online at durhamcountycu.co.uk, darlingtoncreditunion.co.uk or nycu.org.uk for North Yorkshire.

Anyone who suspects loan shark activity can report information anonymously to the national Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300-555-2222, email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk or text 60003.