A PENSIONER couple have been given suspended sentences after raking in more than £200,000 from their illegal money lending.

Alan and Joyce Fromson set up their own business after retiring from working for the Provident in the late 80s.

Using the company's business model the couple ran a legitimate business until 2007 when they failed to renew their licence to to loan money to customers.

Teesside Crown Court heard how they continued to loan money to clients until they were reported in March last year for illegal trading.

Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said they had handed loans worth around £382,800 recouping £214,044 in interest payments, making it a total of £573,457 over a 12 year period.

Mr Joyce, 80, and his 78-year-old wife, pleaded guilty to two charges of illegal money lending between July 2007 and October 2019.

Nigel Soppitt, in mitigation, told the judge how the couple had planned to retire in 2007 so didn't renew their licence, but then continued to hand over cash to new and returning customers.

He said that the £214,000 they made was between them and over the years, which was a relatively low amount shared between them.

Mr Soppitt added: "There's no suggestion of exploitation in this case."

Recorder Toby Hedworth QC passed a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He said "The shame that you have to bear at this stage in your lives is considerable, but you have to share it rightly because for very good reasons those who offer the money lending services that you did for many years have to be licensed."

A proceeds of crime application will follow.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said “It is clear that the Fromsons profited greatly at the expense of others but thanks to information provided to our team, we were able to put an end to their illegal business.”

To report a loan shark call the Stop Loan Sharks 24-hour helpline on 0300 555 2222 or visit here. All calls and information are treated in the strictest of confidence.