A BUSINESSMAN who admitted to being an illegal “loan shark” could face jail when he is sentenced later this month.

Robert Bayford, 62, of Stenning Avenue, Linford, pleaded guilty to illegal money lending, which means he ran a consumer credit business without any licence.

Bayford, who rented out taxis to local drivers, was arrested in July 2011 following a high-profile raid carried out by Essex Police, the England Illegal Money Lending Team and Thurrock Council.

Officers seized 12 taxis and paperwork during raids on his home and his business premises in Horndon-on-the-Hill where repairs had been carried out on the vehicles on July 20 2011.

He was arrested on suspicion of illegal money lending, money laundering and theft of vehicle parts.

Six other taxis were given prohibition notices by Thurrock Council preventing them from being used for business.

Bayford admitted illegal money lending, but suspected money laundering and handling stolen goods offences were not proceeded with.

Dc Steve Cunningham from Essex Police said: “Robert Bayford has lined his own pockets whilst depriving many financially vulnerable individuals of their livelihoods through illegal money lending.

“Essex Police in conjunction with partner agencies worked tirelessly to bring Mr Bayford to justice."