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Hello, thank you for the question.
You have the messages as evidence which is great.
You should send your friend a letter before action to demand payment within 14 days.
If they do not repay you after that term, you can issue a claim online at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
The small claims court will serve the papers on your friend and they have to respond and either accept the sum in full or in part or deny the claim. If you win, you recover the sum you leant plus court interest on top and you also recover the court issue fee. You can provide the messages with the claim form to evidence the agreement.
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Well anyone can say "they're a loan shark" to try and get out of it but if you have evidence of an agreement where you leant money then you are legally entitled to it back. The loan shark argument won't work