Desperate families, struggling with the double blow of last year's floods and the credit crunch, are turning to und money lenders to make ends meet. The areas have been identified as hotspots by a task force set up by the Government.
The group, set up in March, has already arrested two men on suspicion of illegal money lending. A man from Tewkesbury is on bail pending further enquiries.
He will appear in court this month. But Alan Evans, who le the task force, believes these are just the tip of the iceberg and says glouccester victims are at risk of being pulled into a life of crime by the money lenders.
He said: "In some cases, where people have had their homes ruined by floodwater and have no insurance, it may seem impossible to go on. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of people illegally lending money in Gloucestershire at the moment.
It has started 16 investigations into loan sharks across the South West. Alan said: "It's truly remarkable the things we have come across so far.
By law, that means, you don't have to pay them back. They operate through fear and are ruthlessly efficient in that, but if people call us we can remove these people from where they live and operate.