Raymond Young collected cash for a loan sharking firm. A judge said the crime was so serious he had to be immediately sent to prison.
A loan shark who survived a pub shooting by killer Dale Cregan has been jailed after working as a debt collector for a rogue outfit.
Raymond Young, 30, collected cash for a loan sharking firm which ‘preyed on the vulnerable’ by charging exorbitant rates of interest.
His barrister pleaded for him not to be jailed because he had been so traumatised by witnessing his pal Mark Short get blasted to death by Cregan in Droylsden’s Cotton Tree pub in May last year.
But a judge said the crime was so serious he had to be immediately sent to prison.
Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Young worked for I+J Loans on and off from January 2012 to June this year.
During the investigation into the firm, Young, an electrician by trade, was found with text messages on his phone in which he was arranging the collection of repayments, Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said.
Young sent messages using a Blackberry Messenger profile in the name of ‘Raymond *******’ which was accompanied by a photograph of a tray of cash with a gun it, the court was told.
The firm also used images which suggested people would be hospitalised or hit by a car if repayments weren’t made.
Loans were charged at 100 per cent interest, the court was told and charges were also added for late payment.
Young, of John Heywood Street, Clayton , pleaded guilty to two charges of being involved with an unlicensed consumer credit business and one of possessing criminal property at an earlier hearing.
Toby Wilbraham, defending, said Young, who has a long-term partner a five-year-old daughter, was paid just ‘£20 here and there’ for his work and only made a few hundred pounds in total for his role in the enterprise.
He said: “He did not make a large amount of money himself and did not lead a luxurious lifestyle. He has clearly expressed remorse.
“He worked full-time until 2010 and has worked on and off since then. Recently he has had problems after witnessing the murder of his friend and has suffered from anxiety and depression.
“He has seen a doctor about this who says he has shown signs of suffering from PTSD.”
Sentencing Young to a year in prison, Judge Timothy Mort said: “This is so serious that nothing other than immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.
“If you are not licensed you are preying on people who are very vulnerable to sharp practice.
“They unable to borrow from the normal, regulated, financial institutions. The result is that people are drawn deeper and deeper into debt.
“It is a scourge for people who are deeply in financial difficulties to be placed in even more more anxiety and distress.”
How they were caught
I+J Loans was rumbled during an operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, along with Manchester council and the police.
Three men have already been jailed for their role in the business.
It was run by Ian Parsons, 27 who pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering.
Parsons, of Lakeside Rise, Blackley , was sentenced to 32 months behind bars.
Christopher Weaver, 37 of Maybury Street, Gorton , Manchester, pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering. He was jailed for 18 months.
His brother Mark Weaver, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of illegal money lending and one count of money laundering and was sentenced to three months in prison.