A loan shark who made over £83,000 profit through years of illegal high-interest lending has been sentenced to eight months behind bars.

Stephen Chapman, 47, of Gorse Road, Addington, made around 144 high-interest loans to 86 people across London.

He lent £137,000 to people in nine boroughs, raking in £220,00 in repayments.

The loans were typically of small amounts but reached up to £5,000, with debtors shackled to steep increments of interest.

One of those who Mr Chapman lent to repaid £2,000 on a £1,000 loan, while another repaid £240 on £150 within just five months.

Some borrowers were given paperwork but many soon lost track of how much they were repaying.

Mr Chapman was arrested in April 2012 after the Trading Standards Illegal Money Lending Team raided his home following a joint investigation with Croydon Council.

They found £1,500 in cash along with notebooks and a record of late payment charges.

Some of the notebooks, which detailed names, payments and interest, dated back to 2005.

Mr Champman was jailed at Croydon Crown Court on Thursday December 20 having pleaded guilty to eight charges of illegal money-lending at an earlier hearing.

He has already served part of his sentence after being remanded in custody for breaching his bail conditions.

Councillor Simon Hoar, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for community safety and public protection, said: “The day of Chapman’s arrest was a good one for the people of Croydon as it saw the removal of a blight on society from our streets.

“People who are strapped for cash often turn, in desperation, to money lenders like Chapman, thinking that a small loan, repaid quickly, will get them out of a hole.

"Far too often, though, sky-high interest rates leave the borrowers unable to settle the loan and they find themselves spiralling deeper and deeper into debt to lenders who may not always abide by the rules and cause deep misery for their ‘clients’.”