NewsCrime Desk

Former hooligan and sometime wrestler busted for being a loan shark

Mickey Francis (image via @Mickey_Francis)
Mickey Francis (image via @Mickey_Francis)

A former hooligan leader at Manchester City has been locked up after police discovered he was running a money lending scheme from his house.

The Manchester Evening News reported on the jailing of Mickey Francis yesterday for four-and-a-half years.

Francis wrote a book about his time as a hooligan leader, called 'Guvnors' in 1997 but now he faces a spell behind bars after accidentally tipping police off to his illegal money scheme.

In 2014, police were called to his home over a domestic and while there they spotted a pile of ledges with the words ‘Piggybank Loans’ written on them.

That began an investigation and police discovered up to 400 people had been illegally lent cash.

Interest on the loans was an eye-watering 60 per cent and very high late payment fees were also charged.

Police estimate that Francis loaned £20,000 (€23,500) between 2013 and 2015, and that he earned £125,000 (€147,000) through the scheme.

The investigation also uncovered that Francis was growing cannabis in an outhouse near his home, with £40,000 estimated to be the value of the drug in the building. This illegal activity was discovered after police reviewed the CCTV system Francis had on the property, which filmed him setting up the operation.

Francis admitted to  illegal moneylending, money laundering, production of cannabis, and abstracting electricity and despite his legal team claiming he did not use violence or threats in his operation the judge ruled that he was 'an intimidating man, the type of man people would not wish to get on the wrong side of'.

Francis, 56, who has also wrestled under the name 'The Guvnor', was jailed for four-and-a-half years.