Episode 3 The Sheriffs Are Coming


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Episode 3

Series following high court enforcement officers. Sheriffs visit a mobility scooter business which owes a customer a refund, but events take an unexpected turn.


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Transcript


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If you're owed money but aren't getting paid,

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it's time to call the sheriffs.

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-My name is Mr Griggs. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.

-I'm here to issue a High Court writ.

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I've got to do what I'm instructed to by the court.

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They're enforcement agents of the High Court,

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and if a court's ruled in your favour, they're on your side.

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If the debtor doesn't want to pay...

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You currently owe £9,461.80.

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..the law says the sheriffs can get you what you're owed.

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If you don't come to the door, we have to remove the vehicle off the drive.

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You are allowed a week to pay in full before it gets sold at auction.

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-Whether it's a small company...

-Can I speak to the person in charge, please?

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..or a household name...

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We're here to see somebody from G4S.

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..if they owe you money, the sheriffs get it paid.

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I'm not going anywhere. You get him to come in here.

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We're not going to be waiting around like that. It needs to be done now.

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Just collected 42 grand.

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Coming up - sheriffs Lawrence and Kerr visit a shop

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selling mobility scooters

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who owe a customer a refund and they plan to get it whatever it takes.

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The goods will be going because there is no evidence that they

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belong to anybody else.

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Estate agent Karen Vaughan was left on the brink of financial ruin

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after a building project went wrong.

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The snowball effect was catastrophic.

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I was over £20,000 further in debt.

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Tommy and Craig track down a man who owes her money.

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But will he pay up?

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Ken pays a visit to a jeweller's shop.

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But can he get his hands on the gold and silver?

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Sorry, can you come to the door, please?

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Unfortunately, she's not letting us in.

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I can't shout through the letterbox, that's ridiculous.

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And in Burnley, a car yard is suffering an identity crisis.

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If you're trading as East Lancs Van Sales,

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you will have a Companies House number, won't you?

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But will the sheriffs get paid?

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This morning, enforcement agents Lawrence Griggs and Kevin McNally

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are taking a trip to the seaside.

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We are heading to East Wittering.

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Down on the south coast.

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We're going to Non Stop Mobility Ltd for a total of £1,903.

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So it's a commercial premises we're going to, a shop.

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The writ's in favour of a customer who bought a mobility scooter and

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wasn't happy with it.

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I quote, "It was not fit for purpose."

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After being refused a refund,

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the customer took the company to court and won by default

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after it didn't enter a defence.

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The sheriffs are hopeful they'll be able to get their money back.

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I imagine there's going to be plenty of assets at this shop, as long as the shop's still trading.

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We can fill this thing up with mobility scooters, if need be.

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It shouldn't be too much of a problem, I don't think.

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But...famous last words.

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Famous last words, indeed,

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as this job's about to throw up some surprises.

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-There.

-Just there.

-The sheriffs head in.

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Inside, they find the company director's husband, Mr McWilliam.

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We've got a High Court writ against Non Stop Mobility Ltd.

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-They've set it aside?

-Yeah.

-When was this?

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It's a familiar story.

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Mr McWilliam claims the judgment has been overturned.

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But when he starts getting out his paperwork,

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a different picture emerges.

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His appeal hasn't yet been heard,

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so the only thing which will stop the sheriffs enforcing the writ today

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is if he's been granted a stay of execution, which he thinks he has.

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Have you got a copy of the order staying the writ?

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Because I haven't. Obviously, if it's stayed,

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then we'll leave you in peace.

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But we've got no evidence, at the moment, that it is.

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But unless we can see that, then we have to carry on.

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The shopkeeper should have a court order confirming what he's saying,

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but he can't seem to find it and it's becoming increasingly obvious

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he hasn't understood the court process.

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There's two separate things. There's a set-aside and there's a stay.

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And each incurs its own fee. How many application forms did you send?

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And what did the application ask for, a set-aside or a stay?

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They won't give you a stay without a set-aside. And the fact that you've got a hearing date,

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that is when your set-aside hearing is. Well, if you've only paid 150... One lot of £155...

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If Mr McWilliam had got a stay of execution,

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then he would have had to pay a second court fee.

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It sounds like he didn't.

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If you can't find the paperwork, have you got the money to pay this today?

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Right, then we'll be removing goods.

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The man insists he does have a stay of execution,

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but his paperwork's in disarray.

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No, this was the original judgment.

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He's showing Lawrence various letters from the court.

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This is a notice that it's been transferred to Chichester.

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But none are the right one.

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So we're getting there, but you hadn't even opened that.

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Mr McWilliam says, because it's his wife's business,

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he doesn't know where the court order is.

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Are you able to give her a ring and see if she knows where she's put it?

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Well, she might know where it is, sir. And with all due respect,

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your paperwork seems to be a bit of a shambles.

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You've got letters you haven't opened and you don't seem to be able

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to find anything. It might be worth giving her a call to see if she knows where it is.

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Then, amongst a pile of letters, it's Lawrence that strikes gold.

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-Oh, here it is.

-It's the court order,

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confirming there's a hearing in a few weeks' time.

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But it's what it doesn't say that's crucial.

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There's nothing there that says enforcement action is stayed in the interim.

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That's because you didn't send in...

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It's the smoking gun Lawrence needs.

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He can now press on to try to get the claimant her money back.

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It doesn't stay execution in the meantime.

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So the amount outstanding is £1903.03,

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which needs to be paid immediately or goods will be removed.

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Is there no-one that can lend you the money?

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No. Right, well, goods will be removed to clear the debt, then, sir.

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Lawrence wastes no time in ordering a removal van.

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All right. Can I have a Luton van?

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I think it will all fit in a Luton.

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The sheriffs get to work deciding which items to take.

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In particular, they've got their eyes on the mobility scooters,

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which are the most valuable things in the shop.

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But now faced with their removal,

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Mr McWilliam claims they are not the shop's.

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Right, have you got paperwork to that effect?

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Paperwork where you enter into a contract with people to sell goods on their behalf.

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Well, then the goods will be going, because there is no evidence that they belong to anybody else.

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But just when it looks like this job is only going one way,

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events take a surprising turn.

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Mr McWilliam has phoned the courts and is asking them to intervene on his behalf.

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He appears to have found a sympathetic ear and hands the phone to Lawrence.

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What I've said to the gentleman,

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he's obviously applied for a set-aside because he's got the hearing date,

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but he hasn't an applied for a stay in the interim.

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I've got a truck on the way to remove the contents of the shop.

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He should have applied for a stay, he hasn't. He hasn't got one.

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So the writ is live and we're here to execute it today.

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But the woman at the court wants to double-check.

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She's gone.

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She is going to go and speak to the judge.

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A few minutes later, she rings back.

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PHONE RINGS

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And it's just what Lawrence had feared.

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I need a copy of that revised order e-mailing to me, please.

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A judge has revised the court order

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and even though he hasn't paid for it,

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Mr McWilliam has now been granted a stay of execution.

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As it is the sheriffs' job to carry out the court's wishes,

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they have to leave empty-handed.

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But later in the programme,

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we'll find out what happens when they're back two months later.

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If you've been ripped off and the person or company responsible refuses to

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pay you back, the first step is to make a claim in the County Court.

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It's simple to do this online

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for a small fee, depending on the size of the claim.

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The court will review the evidence, and if it finds in your favour,

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the debtor will be ordered to pay up.

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If they don't, then for a further £60, the High Court will grant a writ,

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authorising the sheriffs to act on your behalf.

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If they're successful, you get all your money back.

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In the Midlands, enforcement agents Tommy Coyle and Craig Wilde are on

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their way to Solihull.

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They're looking to try to recover a debt resulting from a business deal

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gone sour.

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The judgment's against a Mr Alan Beale.

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It's a home address, for just over £15,000.

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So it's a lot of money.

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The money is owed to Karen Vaughan,

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an independent estate agent who also dabbles in property development.

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Her involvement with Mr Beale began when she was looking for a new project

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to invest her savings.

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I've done a few projects.

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I've bought land, I've done some refurbishments on properties.

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And what I was really hoping to do is to actually do a build.

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That was really the next stage, the natural progression for me.

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A suitable site in Wolverhampton had come up,

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perfect to build four houses.

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Karen could afford to buy the land but needed help to see the project

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through, so teamed up with a local builder, Alan Beale.

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I was providing the finance for the project, and Alan was dealing with all the building aspects.

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I'd seen some properties that had already been built with Alan.

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He's a likeable person.

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He seemed very knowledgeable on what he was doing, so, yeah,

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I thought that we were starting a good working relationship

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and it was the start of things to come, really.

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Before they could buy the plot,

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the pair got surveys done and plans drawn up.

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But then the project started to drag

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and Karen began to realise there was a problem.

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Alan was quite a busy person and it would appear that he wasn't

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getting back to architects,

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solicitors, the vendor of the site, etc,

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within the timescales that they required,

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and eventually the vendor decided that he couldn't wait any longer.

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The seller pulled out and sold the land to someone else.

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That meant all their work so far was down the drain.

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Alan started to forward to me the invoices for the work that he'd

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instructed. For example, the architects,

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the site investigation works, etc.

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And I think it was at that point that the realisation hit that we

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were somewhere in the region of 20,000 in debt.

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And those bills needed paying.

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So Karen paid them, all £20,000 of it.

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She assumed her business partner would chip in,

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but she was in for a shock.

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Alan's attitude was that we had set up a limited company and the idea of

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a limited company is to protect you personally from any debt,

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if the company fails.

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He felt that there was no legal need to have to pay that debt

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and, therefore, if I wanted to pay them, that was my choice.

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Karen had been counting on the income from the completion of the project

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to honour other financial commitments and was now plunged into crisis.

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Personally, I was devastated that I was over £20,000 further in debt

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than I was to start with.

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The snowball effect, financially, was catastrophic.

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She missed loan payments, and her business was nearly repossessed.

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So when she finally managed to persuade Mr Beale to pay back half of the money, it was a huge relief.

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He drew up a loan agreement and agreed to pay an amount each month

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to clear that debt. He made the first payment

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and so I thought everything was great,

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we were moving forward at last.

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But unfortunately when the second payment was due,

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there was no money forthcoming.

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Despite phone calls, messages, texting and e-mails,

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Alan never came forward with any further payments.

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As he had broken a signed agreement,

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Karen was able to pursue him through the courts.

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She won a County Court judgment against Mr Beale,

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and when he still didn't pay, took it to the High Court.

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I've given him every opportunity to make this payment,

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but he's ignored everything and I have put it in the hands of the sheriffs

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and I hope that this will sort of evoke some sort of response and make him

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see that this debt is not going away.

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Now, Tommy and Craig are on their way to see Mr Beale,

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and Craig is feeling confident.

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He is a director of four limited companies.

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Building companies, a log home company.

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He's obviously clearly a man of means so, hopefully,

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we'll go and see Mr Beale

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and try and get Miss Vaughan's money for her.

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At the house, there is no sign of a builder's van on the drive,

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but is Mr Beale home?

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KNOCK ON DOOR

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Builder's boots.

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Hello, my love. Sorry to disturb you. Trying to get in contact with Mr Alan Beale.

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Are you his wife, are you?

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-My name is Mr Wilde, I'm from the High Court.

-OK.

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If you can get him on the phone for me.

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I'm here to execute a court order.

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Yes, no problem at all.

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No, not you, Tommy.

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No. I'm locked out.

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Craig is inside at least, so...

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Get some dialogue going.

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Inside, the woman tells Craig that she is Mr Beale's partner.

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As he seems to live there,

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the sheriffs could begin to list items to remove from the house to cover

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the debt, but it would be much better if Mr Beale could pay in some other way,

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so the woman manages to reach him by phone and Craig fills Tommy in

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-via the window.

-He's just phoned in. He's saying he hasn't got the money.

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-Right.

-So we'll wait until he turns up, anyway,

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cos he's only about ten or 15 minutes away.

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But there's another guy called Kevin turning up as well.

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Mr Beale's apparently on his way back to the house,

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so it looks like the sheriffs are going to get to speak to him

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face to face. After a short wait, a truck pulls up.

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Here we go.

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Mr Beale has arrived alone.

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He tells Tommy he can't afford to pay back his debt to Karen Vaughan

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and he hasn't brought any money.

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He doesn't want to be filmed and goes into the house,

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where Craig explains he's got a writ

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from the High Court that empowers him

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to remove goods to cover the debt,

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and after some fraught discussions, there are some promising signs.

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Craig's just come out now

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and he just requested to get the card machine.

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It looks like Craig has managed to negotiate at least some kind of

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payment. Sure enough, before long, the sheriffs are on their way.

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So, nearly 18 months after signing the loan agreement with Mr Beale,

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has Karen finally got her money?

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The defendant turned up. He couldn't pay.

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But his partner decided to

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extend the hand of gratuity to him to get it paid off.

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So that's what she's done, £15,000.

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There you go.

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Another good day for the sheriffs.

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Another good day, hopefully, for Miss Vaughan.

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I have to say, I am actually surprised.

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Whilst I was hoping for a good outcome, I didn't expect this.

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So, thank you, sheriffs.

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You've done an amazing job. I can't thank you enough.

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Earlier, Lawrence and Kev visited a shop called Non Stop Mobility in East Wittering.

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They'd been taken to court by a customer who'd been refused

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a refund after buying a faulty scooter.

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The sheriffs had to walk away empty-handed after a judge granted the shop

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a last-minute stay of execution to allow an appeal to take place.

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Now, two months later,

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Lawrence and Kev are heading to the seaside town once again.

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He's had his hearing. The case has been thrown out.

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So we are on our way back here now.

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And we're going to get payment.

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Well, we're hoping to get payment.

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But the sheriffs aren't banking on it being that simple.

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Last time, the shopkeeper said he didn't have the money.

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And now, with extra fees, the bill's gone up.

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Best-case scenario, he's expecting us and he's got the money sitting there, waiting for us,

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-but I shouldn't think so.

-One of the problems I foresee we're going to have

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is the main stuff of value was the scooters he had in there,

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the mobility scooters.

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Considering he knows he's lost his case, they might have gone.

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Going to know we're going to be back.

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Lawrence and Kev march up the street and into the shop.

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Hello.

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At first, the shop looks to be unattended,

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but then Mr McWilliam emerges from the back.

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-Oh, hello.

-Hello again, sir.

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You lost your appeal, didn't you? So now the full total is due.

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We're here today to take control of goods to the value of £3,268.36.

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Were you not aware you lost?

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This time he asks our cameraman to leave.

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He tells Lawrence he thought he'd won his case.

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He gets out some paperwork from the court which he says will prove it.

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But it's a move that spectacularly backfires.

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He's saying he doesn't know anything about it and then produces a letter

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that is an order saying that his case has been dismissed and he also

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has got an extra £1,500 on top of the judgment there.

0:19:010:19:05

So, by producing this letter, his debt's got £1,500 added to it.

0:19:050:19:09

So he's not...he's not best pleased about that.

0:19:090:19:12

The sheriffs hadn't been told about the additional costs awarded by the

0:19:120:19:16

court. Now they've been added, the shop owes well over £4,500.

0:19:160:19:21

And Mr McWilliam isn't about to settle up.

0:19:210:19:24

He's saying he hasn't got any money to pay, the same as he was last time.

0:19:250:19:28

And to be honest, I don't doubt him. His wife's got no money. He's got no money.

0:19:280:19:32

So, the only thing we've got of value, really, are the scooters.

0:19:320:19:35

I think there's nine scooters in total.

0:19:350:19:36

He's saying he's signed a letter saying that his mate owns them.

0:19:360:19:40

But that is literally just a piece of paper.

0:19:400:19:42

So we've decided we're going to take these scooters because there's no

0:19:420:19:46

other way we're going to get paid here at all.

0:19:460:19:49

In fact, it's not just the scooters that will be going.

0:19:490:19:52

To get the claimant her money back,

0:19:520:19:54

they're going to have to pretty much clear out the shop.

0:19:540:19:57

Lawrence has begun listing the goods one by one, and Kev reckons he's

0:19:570:20:01

rather enjoying it.

0:20:010:20:03

He's got a bit of a glint in his eye looking at some of these scooters.

0:20:030:20:07

There's a sort of wide scooter that he's got his eye on, I think.

0:20:070:20:10

He's coming to that sort of age.

0:20:100:20:12

Don't tell him that, though.

0:20:120:20:14

But Lawrence shouldn't get carried away too quickly, as Mr McWilliam

0:20:140:20:19

has again put in a call to the local court

0:20:190:20:21

in a bid to stop the sheriffs in their tracks.

0:20:210:20:25

They've advised him to fill in some different form

0:20:250:20:27

that she's going to submit to the judge.

0:20:270:20:30

And in the meantime, the atmosphere inside the shop is heating up,

0:20:310:20:35

as a man has arrived with a large Alsatian dog.

0:20:350:20:38

It turns out he's got some sort of stake in this business,

0:20:380:20:42

so he's got money invested in it.

0:20:420:20:44

I think he's the guy that owns the scooters as well,

0:20:440:20:46

or claims to own the scooters.

0:20:460:20:48

But I think he's got actual more investment than just that.

0:20:480:20:51

He sort of bombed in here with his Alsatian,

0:20:510:20:53

telling us we're not going to do this and that, and what have you.

0:20:530:20:57

But it's going to take more than a large dog to put the sheriffs off,

0:20:570:21:01

and the man soon leaves.

0:21:010:21:04

Meanwhile, Mr McWilliam has heard back from his latest appeal to the

0:21:040:21:07

courts and this time he hasn't been so lucky.

0:21:070:21:11

Surprisingly enough, the judge has seen it already,

0:21:110:21:14

but dismissed everything.

0:21:140:21:16

So that avenue for him has gone now.

0:21:160:21:18

He's insisting he's got no way to pay and he's phoned around his friends

0:21:180:21:22

and everyone else to see if anyone can help.

0:21:220:21:24

But no-one is going to do anything.

0:21:240:21:26

So the entire contents of the shop are going to be removed.

0:21:260:21:30

There's three scooters, I think, that we've seen paperwork for,

0:21:300:21:33

to show us that they don't belong to this limited company.

0:21:330:21:36

The rest of it's going to be going and the truck is on its way.

0:21:360:21:40

It's obvious the business is struggling, and emptying the shop isn't ideal for anyone.

0:21:400:21:45

So Lawrence and Kev do make one last-ditch attempt to get the man to make some kind of payment.

0:21:450:21:51

But it doesn't have quite the reaction they'd hoped for.

0:21:510:21:55

Well, we basically said if he could get two-and-a-half grand together then we could

0:21:550:21:59

leave the stuff here and put an arrangement in place for him.

0:21:590:22:02

But he's not going for it, can't get any funds together, so he's gone.

0:22:020:22:05

He's given us the keys to the shop and he's off. Left us to it. So...

0:22:050:22:09

It's what he wants to do, it's up to him.

0:22:090:22:11

The truck pulls up outside and Lawrence and Kev start loading.

0:22:110:22:16

Well, that's going to be the first one.

0:22:170:22:19

What's the best way to take 'em?

0:22:190:22:22

Because we don't want them going down those steps.

0:22:220:22:24

There's only one thing for it.

0:22:240:22:27

Right, get up there.

0:22:350:22:37

After all, Lawrence is at home on anything with four wheels,

0:22:370:22:41

even if it only goes 5mph.

0:22:410:22:45

I do have some knowledge of mobility scooters.

0:22:450:22:49

My mother got through a few in her latter years, God rest her.

0:22:490:22:53

Managed to fit a few in the back of my van when they'd broken down,

0:22:530:22:56

and I had to go and collect her. Cos she used to run out of batteries.

0:22:560:23:00

Kev, meanwhile, is wrestling with the complexity of the machines.

0:23:000:23:04

What's going on here? What's he done to this one?

0:23:040:23:07

Has he broken this one?

0:23:070:23:08

This one's got something wrong with it, Lawrence.

0:23:080:23:11

Only Lawrence doesn't have the same problem.

0:23:110:23:14

It's very slow, but I'll get there.

0:23:140:23:17

Might have to push a bit.

0:23:190:23:21

As for Kev, he's still struggling...

0:23:230:23:26

It's not neutral. What am I not doing right?

0:23:260:23:30

..and is ultimately beaten.

0:23:300:23:32

This one, Lawrence, it's broken.

0:23:320:23:34

What have you done with it?

0:23:340:23:36

-It's just broke.

-It's not broken.

0:23:360:23:38

You muppet.

0:23:380:23:40

They fill up the van as much as they can and though it probably won't be

0:23:430:23:47

enough to cover the £4,500 the shop owes, every bit helps.

0:23:470:23:51

Mobility stuff has got a value.

0:23:520:23:55

There's a few bits in there that are worth a reasonable amount of money.

0:23:550:23:58

But most of it is second-hand.

0:23:580:24:00

But it will have some value to it.

0:24:000:24:02

And that means that the customer who took the shop to court will get at

0:24:020:24:06

least some of their money back.

0:24:060:24:08

Sheriff Ken Warby is battling the rain in Finchley, north London.

0:24:180:24:23

He's pursuing a debt owed by another small shop,

0:24:230:24:26

but this is a very different kind of business.

0:24:260:24:28

We're off to a place called Gina Jewellers.

0:24:280:24:31

The debt is £1,600.

0:24:310:24:34

The only thing I know about it is it's a...

0:24:340:24:37

it's unpaid invoices to a jewellery wholesaler's.

0:24:370:24:41

The wholesaler is a family firm called Jenny Brown Ltd.

0:24:410:24:45

After Gina Jewellers ran up an unpaid bill of over £1,000,

0:24:450:24:48

they took the matter to the County Court and won a judgment in their

0:24:480:24:52

favour. It's not been settled,

0:24:520:24:54

and now Ken is on his way to chase the debt.

0:24:540:24:56

Ken's looking forward to the job.

0:24:570:24:59

It's not just diamonds that are a sheriff's best friend.

0:24:590:25:02

He'd settle for gold or silver, if it comes to it.

0:25:020:25:05

They're very easy to remove goods from, jewellery shops.

0:25:050:25:08

You can usually demand the full amount straightaway.

0:25:080:25:14

So, yeah, pretty confident we could get a result on this one.

0:25:140:25:17

Oh, there it is. And it is Gina Jewellers, yes.

0:25:200:25:23

Ken parks up and heads for the door.

0:25:290:25:32

But it turns out he's not the only one

0:25:320:25:33

aware of how easily the shop's stock can be removed.

0:25:330:25:37

They've got a button-entry system, so Ken won't just be striding in.

0:25:370:25:41

The lady's seen me standing here.

0:25:410:25:43

Hello.

0:25:460:25:48

See if they'll come...

0:25:480:25:49

Hello! Sorry, can you come to the door, please?

0:25:510:25:55

The staff have decided they don't like the look of Ken and our camera

0:25:550:25:59

and they're not opening up.

0:25:590:26:01

Instead, they're battening down the hatches.

0:26:010:26:04

It's an intercom to get into the door.

0:26:040:26:06

Now they're behind the protective screen and they're on the phone to

0:26:060:26:09

someone now. Could be the police or anyone, I don't know.

0:26:090:26:12

Ken can't do anything unless he can get inside the shop

0:26:130:26:16

or at least speak to the staff.

0:26:160:26:18

With no leverage, he's got to try and be diplomatic.

0:26:180:26:23

I'll explain what this is about. I've got identification on me.

0:26:230:26:27

Can you not come to the door?

0:26:270:26:29

Well, I can't shout through the letterbox.

0:26:290:26:32

That's ridiculous.

0:26:320:26:34

That is, however, exactly what he'll have to do.

0:26:340:26:37

Right, it's regarding a debt owed to someone called Jenny Brown Ltd.

0:26:370:26:41

Is that making any sense?

0:26:410:26:44

Right, OK. You've got an amount outstanding

0:26:440:26:48

as at today's date of £1,668.88.

0:26:480:26:51

The staff member says the shop has recently changed hands

0:26:520:26:56

and that the debt dates back to the previous owners.

0:26:560:26:59

What Ken will need to find out is whether any of the assets inside

0:26:590:27:03

actually belong to the company named on the writ.

0:27:030:27:06

But that's going to be tricky, as the woman still won't open the door.

0:27:060:27:10

Unfortunately, she's not letting us in, and the owner isn't back until

0:27:100:27:15

later on this afternoon.

0:27:150:27:17

She's told me to wait for an hour or so.

0:27:170:27:19

I'm wondering what she is going to come back to the door and talk about.

0:27:190:27:23

But at the moment she's only talking to me through the other side.

0:27:230:27:26

A bit of a shame, because there's certainly plenty of assets in there.

0:27:260:27:31

But unless the woman is willing to open the door,

0:27:310:27:33

he won't be getting his hands on any of those assets today.

0:27:330:27:37

Faced with little alternative, Ken decides to call it quits for now.

0:27:370:27:41

Would you take this? All right?

0:27:420:27:43

This just explains what the debt is about. That's the breakdown.

0:27:430:27:47

All I will suggest, OK, because this is our first attendance,

0:27:480:27:53

is that this gets paid today.

0:27:530:27:56

Because failing that, we will be back again.

0:27:560:27:59

And when we come back, there will be extra charges on there.

0:27:590:28:04

All right, thank you. Bye. Cheers.

0:28:050:28:08

Ken's hoping the threat of a growing bill will prompt the company

0:28:090:28:13

to respond, and that's the best he can do.

0:28:130:28:16

I'm hoping that she's going to give me a call later on today,

0:28:160:28:18

or get the debt paid.

0:28:180:28:20

We'll be back another day. It doesn't bother me that much.

0:28:200:28:24

Ken heads off to the next job.

0:28:240:28:26

But a couple of hours later, he gets a phone call.

0:28:260:28:29

PHONE RINGS

0:28:290:28:31

Hello. There are two ways you can pay that.

0:28:310:28:34

You can either go online and pay it by card

0:28:340:28:36

or you can do a bank transfer.

0:28:360:28:39

Ken's presence at the shop earlier clearly had an effect.

0:28:390:28:42

Even though the shop's being taken over by a different company,

0:28:420:28:46

the sale hasn't yet completed and in the meantime the new boss is willing

0:28:460:28:50

to settle the debt on the previous owner's behalf.

0:28:500:28:53

Thank you. Bye-bye.

0:28:530:28:54

Apparently they're under new ownership but the guy that's bought

0:28:540:28:58

the jeweller's still wants to clear the debts.

0:28:580:29:03

The debt outstanding is £1,668 as at today's date.

0:29:040:29:08

He said he can pay the 600.

0:29:100:29:12

I said, if you can pay the £1,000 today,

0:29:120:29:14

I'll give him two weeks to pay the balance.

0:29:140:29:18

He's going to give me a call back.

0:29:180:29:20

So, hopefully, that will get sorted soon as well.

0:29:200:29:22

Later that day, the boss did pay the £1,000

0:29:250:29:28

and cleared the remaining balance within two weeks.

0:29:280:29:32

Jenny Brown Ltd have now got their money back.

0:29:320:29:35

It's a bright spring morning, and Lawrence and Kev are in south London

0:29:470:29:51

on the trail of a car dealership which owes a debt to their client.

0:29:510:29:54

It's 11.30 in the morning.

0:29:540:29:57

We are in South Norwood, south London.

0:29:570:30:00

We are going to Prestige Car Sales.

0:30:000:30:03

They owe £3,958.

0:30:030:30:06

Prestige Car Sales of South Norwood,

0:30:070:30:10

not to be confused with any other company of a similar name,

0:30:100:30:12

was taken to court by painter and decorator David Goddard.

0:30:120:30:16

His dealings with the business began when he was looking for

0:30:160:30:19

a family-sized car for his wife.

0:30:190:30:20

I've actually got about 13 grandchildren

0:30:220:30:25

and six great-grandchildren,

0:30:250:30:27

and my wife takes them, especially in summer holidays, takes them down...

0:30:270:30:31

We've got a caravan in Selsey Bill.

0:30:310:30:34

So it was always ideal to have a bigger car

0:30:340:30:38

to carry the children around.

0:30:380:30:40

They hadn't been looking for long

0:30:400:30:43

before they found a car which seemed to fit the bill.

0:30:430:30:46

My wife looked through the internet

0:30:460:30:48

and found a Vauxhall Zafira

0:30:480:30:52

at Prestige Cars of South Norwood.

0:30:520:30:56

So they went to have a look and took the car for a test drive.

0:30:560:30:59

We'd taken it out on the Saturday and it sounded quite nice.

0:30:590:31:03

It was fine. The MOT was only three to four weeks old, the MOT.

0:31:030:31:08

Unfortunately, I left my bag there in the back of the car after

0:31:080:31:12

test-driving the vehicle,

0:31:120:31:14

and when we got home my wife said, "Well, that's an omen."

0:31:140:31:18

She said, "That car must be for me."

0:31:180:31:21

So they bought it for £2,290.

0:31:230:31:26

But the problems began immediately.

0:31:260:31:28

The next day, there was a puncture.

0:31:280:31:31

So we put a new tyre on the vehicle.

0:31:310:31:34

Then I said, "Well, you best go down to the tyres place

0:31:350:31:39

"and get the tyres checked."

0:31:390:31:40

It needed another two tyres and this is only sort of

0:31:420:31:46

two days after we bought the vehicle.

0:31:460:31:49

And that was just the start.

0:31:490:31:51

It was only a matter of days

0:31:510:31:52

before it started misfiring about two cylinders,

0:31:520:31:55

it rocking... It was jumping all over the place,

0:31:550:31:59

misfiring, so on and so forth.

0:31:590:32:01

And then, finally, it just gave up the ghost, basically.

0:32:010:32:05

David called up Prestige Car Sales to report the car had broken down.

0:32:050:32:10

He said, "Well, can you get the vehicle to us?"

0:32:100:32:13

I said, "No, we can't really because it's immobile."

0:32:130:32:17

Instead, they agreed he'd take it to a local garage.

0:32:170:32:20

Their inspection revealed a plethora of problems.

0:32:200:32:23

The core springs at the back were gone, the exhaust manifold nuts were missing,

0:32:230:32:28

so that was leaking gases.

0:32:280:32:30

He said, "If I was you... I've got it running for you

0:32:300:32:32

"but you shouldn't really spend any more money.

0:32:320:32:36

"It could be the engine,

0:32:360:32:38

"it could be the gearbox or it could be a sensor."

0:32:380:32:42

It could have been anything up to about £2,000 to £3,000.

0:32:420:32:45

It was very, very frustrating that

0:32:450:32:48

they'd sent the vehicle out in that sort of condition.

0:32:480:32:52

David spent £600 fixing just enough to get the car back on the road and

0:32:530:32:58

contacted Prestige Car Sales about the remaining problems.

0:32:580:33:02

He said, "Well, bring the vehicle back and we'll sort it out for you."

0:33:020:33:07

So David returned the car to the dealers.

0:33:070:33:09

But while he waited for it to be repaired,

0:33:090:33:11

he took a closer look at the service history documents,

0:33:110:33:14

which he still had.

0:33:140:33:15

He found a cylinder head had previously been replaced

0:33:150:33:18

and the car had experienced recurring issues

0:33:180:33:21

with the engine misfiring.

0:33:210:33:23

I said to my wife...

0:33:230:33:25

I said, "This car isn't any good."

0:33:250:33:29

I said, "It's just not fit for purpose, basically."

0:33:290:33:32

David decided he no longer wanted it and asked Prestige Car Sales to keep

0:33:320:33:37

the car and give him a refund.

0:33:370:33:39

They told him to put it in writing, so he did.

0:33:390:33:42

I said I'd forgo the 600 and 200 I spent on tyres.

0:33:420:33:47

"Just pay me the £2,290."

0:33:470:33:50

I said, "All I want is my money back, basically,

0:33:500:33:54

"so that we can get another vehicle."

0:33:540:33:57

No reply, nothing at all.

0:33:580:34:00

I couldn't believe that someone could think they could just take

0:34:000:34:05

£2,000-plus off of somebody,

0:34:050:34:08

a working person, and think they'd forget all about it.

0:34:080:34:12

David took Prestige Car Sales to court.

0:34:120:34:15

They didn't defend the case,

0:34:150:34:17

so he won a default judgment for the full cost of the car and the repairs

0:34:170:34:21

he'd made at his own expense.

0:34:210:34:23

They still haven't paid.

0:34:230:34:25

So now David's put the sheriffs on the case.

0:34:250:34:28

It's a necessity and it's got to be done,

0:34:280:34:31

otherwise I've no other way of getting the money back anyway.

0:34:310:34:36

In south London, Lawrence and Kev are about to pay Prestige Car Sales a visit.

0:34:430:34:47

I'm hoping the dealers are still here, for a start,

0:34:470:34:50

and I'm hoping they have some assets and some cars worth some value.

0:34:500:34:54

As they approach, it appears the garage is tucked away behind the main high street.

0:34:560:35:00

They head in to make their introductions.

0:35:020:35:05

Are you all right, mate?

0:35:050:35:06

Are you the owner?

0:35:080:35:10

-Is the owner about?

-Sorry?

0:35:100:35:13

Is the owner about? My colleague and I are enforcement agents.

0:35:130:35:16

We've got a High Court writ against Prestige Car Sales.

0:35:160:35:19

We are ordered out by the High Court today to take control of goods

0:35:190:35:22

to be sold at auction and clear the debt.

0:35:220:35:24

Sorry, are you the owner, are you?

0:35:250:35:27

Sorry, he just said you weren't here.

0:35:270:35:29

So... I'll show you some ID. My name is Mr Griggs.

0:35:310:35:35

The boss is here after all.

0:35:350:35:37

Now Lawrence has to explain the whole thing all over again.

0:35:370:35:40

We are ordered out by High Court today to take control of goods to the value of £3,958.28

0:35:400:35:46

Those goods can be sold at auction to clear the debt.

0:35:460:35:49

The boss leads them into the back.

0:35:500:35:52

Basically, the only way to prevent further action today is to pay in full.

0:35:530:35:56

The garage extends behind the row of shops and is actually much larger

0:35:570:36:01

than it appeared from the street.

0:36:010:36:03

But we don't get to admire the stock for long.

0:36:030:36:05

-CAMERAMAN:

-We'll wait outside.

-All right.

-Our camera is sent outside.

0:36:100:36:13

Indoors, Lawrence explains that if the owner doesn't come up with the

0:36:170:36:21

nearly £4,000 the court demands,

0:36:210:36:23

then he'll have no choice but to leave with at least one of Prestige Cars Sales' vehicles.

0:36:230:36:28

The boss isn't happy and says he has applied to get the judgment set aside

0:36:290:36:34

but he doesn't yet even have a court date.

0:36:340:36:36

-He knows all about it.

-He's actually got the car here.

0:36:360:36:39

So I don't know why he's got the car here and hasn't paid it.

0:36:390:36:43

He's actually going back to court at some point.

0:36:430:36:46

He hasn't got a date for that yet but he will be going back to court.

0:36:460:36:50

Lawrence has told him the best course of action is to pay up now

0:36:500:36:54

and try to challenge it later.

0:36:540:36:56

It sounds like that's what he's going to do.

0:36:560:36:58

He knows he's got to pay it, so he's going to get a card from one of his

0:36:580:37:02

colleagues in there and they're going to pay for it.

0:37:020:37:05

The sheriffs have been on site for a mere 20 minutes

0:37:060:37:10

when associates of the owner arrive.

0:37:100:37:13

Between them they produce a card, and Lawrence takes a payment for the full £3,958 owed.

0:37:140:37:21

It all went fairly smoothly.

0:37:210:37:24

They will, undoubtedly, take some legal action, I would think,

0:37:240:37:27

to stop the money being paid out until they've had the hearing.

0:37:270:37:30

At the end of the day, we've been paid and that's all we're worried about.

0:37:300:37:34

In the end, Prestige Car Sales' application to get the judgment set aside

0:37:340:37:39

came to nothing. The case never did go back to court,

0:37:390:37:42

and five months after buying the car,

0:37:420:37:44

David Goddard has got his money back.

0:37:440:37:47

I'm very pleased that the outcome is in our favour and we have received

0:37:470:37:52

our money back. It is great. Brilliant.

0:37:520:37:56

Sheriffs are now officially known as High Court enforcement agents,

0:37:560:38:00

and they'll collect the money you're owed.

0:38:000:38:03

My job is to collect in full or remove goods.

0:38:030:38:06

They've got more powers of entry than bailiffs.

0:38:060:38:08

We don't have to take any notice of your security protocol, I'm afraid.

0:38:080:38:11

And there's no limit on the size of the debts they can pursue.

0:38:110:38:15

£1.6 million.

0:38:150:38:17

Their fees are set by the government,

0:38:170:38:19

which debtors have to pay on top of what they already owe.

0:38:190:38:23

Thank you very much. See you later.

0:38:230:38:25

If the sheriffs can't recover any of your money,

0:38:250:38:28

there's a fee of £75 plus VAT.

0:38:280:38:31

Ken is in Dunstable, near Luton, on his way to a trading estate.

0:38:410:38:46

We're going to visit a large furniture store, SCS.

0:38:480:38:52

The original debt is just over £2,000.

0:38:520:38:55

Ken's attending on behalf of a customer who bought a recliner sofa,

0:38:570:39:01

but the leather finish began to peel off.

0:39:010:39:04

When she asked the store for her money back,

0:39:050:39:08

she was instead offered an alternative sofa at a reduced prize.

0:39:080:39:12

She wasn't happy and despite the Citizens Advice Bureau intervening on her behalf,

0:39:130:39:17

they couldn't come to an agreement.

0:39:170:39:20

So she took SCS to court, and when they didn't offer a defence,

0:39:210:39:25

was awarded a default judgment.

0:39:250:39:28

Ken's not expecting them to remember.

0:39:280:39:31

I'll give them enough time to try and find out exactly who the claimant is.

0:39:310:39:35

The chances are, they'll need to speak to the head office because this is just one of their branches.

0:39:350:39:41

But given the stock he knows will be on site,

0:39:410:39:44

he's not going to take no for an answer.

0:39:440:39:46

They'll have more than enough assets to cover the debt here.

0:39:460:39:50

Pick one of about 40 three-piece suites, if you like.

0:39:500:39:53

Sometimes, sheriffs go direct to the company's head office.

0:39:530:39:57

But they're entitled to enforce anywhere the debtor has assets.

0:39:580:40:03

This is one of a dozen or so stores they've got up and down the country.

0:40:030:40:07

However, the notice of enforcement would have come to this address.

0:40:070:40:12

-It's the address on the writ, so Ken heads on.

-Hello.

0:40:130:40:17

SCS, I'd like to speak to the person in charge.

0:40:200:40:22

My name's Mr Warby.

0:40:220:40:26

It doesn't take the man long to realise he's not about to make a sale.

0:40:260:40:30

We're asked to leave while Ken starts the process of getting

0:40:300:40:33

through to someone with the power to pay up.

0:40:330:40:36

This is as I thought it would be.

0:40:360:40:38

A big company, just spoken to the store manager.

0:40:380:40:41

He doesn't know who this person is.

0:40:410:40:43

So he's now contacting his head office.

0:40:430:40:46

It's a small-ish debt, really, to a company this size

0:40:460:40:49

and I'll give them a bit of time.

0:40:490:40:51

There's only going to be one outcome, I want the money for my client, that's it.

0:40:530:40:57

The manager is off the phone and Ken heads back inside to talk to him.

0:40:570:41:01

Do you want me up there? I'll come up there.

0:41:010:41:05

How do I get up there?

0:41:050:41:08

Some progress has been made.

0:41:080:41:09

The company's head office in Sunderland are now aware of Ken eyeing up

0:41:090:41:13

their sofas and have said they're looking into it.

0:41:130:41:16

I spoke to a lady, nice lady.

0:41:170:41:19

I did tell her we need to get this resolved today.

0:41:190:41:23

This manager is going to fax over a copy of the actual

0:41:230:41:29

writ of control. So...

0:41:290:41:31

..it's just a question of waiting at the moment.

0:41:330:41:35

With nothing else he can do,

0:41:370:41:38

Ken has a quick sit down and his thoughts turn momentarily to his own living room.

0:41:380:41:43

This sofa is really nice, actually.

0:41:450:41:47

It reclines a treat.

0:41:470:41:49

The one I'm looking for, really, is on a button, an electric button.

0:41:490:41:53

If I can get one like that...

0:41:530:41:55

I'm not sure I'll get a discount here, somehow.

0:41:550:41:58

Finally, however, the manager is back

0:41:580:42:01

and an hour-and-a-half after he arrived, Ken's done.

0:42:010:42:04

Head office are going to pay.

0:42:040:42:06

A controlled goods agreement has been signed and, yeah, a successful job.

0:42:060:42:11

The customer has finally got her money back.

0:42:110:42:13

SCS might be a few thousand down on the day,

0:42:140:42:17

but after Ken spent the morning trying out every sofa in the shop,

0:42:170:42:21

they might have a new customer to make up for it.

0:42:210:42:23

The grey one was rather nice.

0:42:250:42:28

I did say to them, next time I come in, if I'm not holding my clipboard,

0:42:280:42:30

maybe we can do some business.

0:42:300:42:33

SCS told us the customer's sofa was inspected by...

0:42:330:42:38

The sheriffs are used to dealing with all manner of obstacles

0:43:060:43:09

in order to get debts paid,

0:43:090:43:11

but once in a while their mettle is really tested and it's not always

0:43:110:43:14

possible to get the outcome they want.

0:43:140:43:17

In Burnley, Alan Pennington is on his way to see a second-hand car business

0:43:170:43:22

called East Lancs Cars and Commercials Ltd,

0:43:220:43:25

who've been taken to court by a customer.

0:43:250:43:28

The claimant had stated that they'd bought a Suzuki,

0:43:280:43:33

and they've had nothing but faults on the car,

0:43:330:43:37

and a new MOT was promised and that didn't happen.

0:43:370:43:41

The claimant won her case by default

0:43:420:43:44

after the dealer didn't offer a defence.

0:43:440:43:47

Now Alan's on his way there to see if he can recover £2,285 owed.

0:43:470:43:52

But when he arrives,

0:43:540:43:55

there's a different name on the signs outside the business.

0:43:550:43:58

East Lancs Van Sales.

0:43:580:44:00

As this is the address on his writ,

0:44:000:44:02

and where the claimant bought their car, he heads in anyway.

0:44:020:44:06

There are certainly assets here.

0:44:060:44:08

Now all he needs to do is find the boss, Shaun Cosgrove.

0:44:080:44:12

Hello. Mr Cosgrove?

0:44:130:44:16

Is he here?

0:44:170:44:18

No matter, Alan's here to do his job whether the boss is in or not.

0:44:200:44:25

I'm an enforcement agent. I'm here with a High Court writ.

0:44:250:44:28

For East Lancs Car and Commercials Ltd.

0:44:280:44:30

East Lancs Vans?

0:44:330:44:34

It might sound similar, but it's not who Alan's looking for,

0:44:350:44:39

so he needs to find out whether East Lancs Vans is just a trading name

0:44:390:44:43

the debtor uses, or if it really is a different company.

0:44:430:44:47

Is Shaun Cosgrove still in charge, is he?

0:44:470:44:49

Brian?

0:44:510:44:52

And Brian is soon on the phone.

0:44:530:44:56

My name's Mr Pennington from the High Court Sheriffs Office.

0:44:560:44:59

I'm looking for a Shaun Cosgrove.

0:44:590:45:01

The man says that's not him.

0:45:020:45:05

Yeah, but what's your name, then?

0:45:050:45:07

Alan's told he doesn't need to know.

0:45:070:45:09

Well, I do want to get the bottom of it, don't I?

0:45:110:45:14

Brian is refusing to give his full name.

0:45:140:45:17

He also says none of the vehicles here belong to East Lancs Car and Commercials Ltd.

0:45:170:45:22

Who are they owned by? Who are they owned by?

0:45:230:45:25

Again, Brian won't say.

0:45:250:45:28

You're trading as East Lancs Van Sales, aren't you?

0:45:280:45:30

So you're going to have some paperwork.

0:45:300:45:32

If you're trading as East Lancs Van Sales,

0:45:320:45:34

you will have a Companies House number, won't you?

0:45:340:45:37

Brian isn't giving anything away.

0:45:370:45:39

So Alan tries to find out for himself.

0:45:390:45:41

He heads into their office and begins examining their paperwork.

0:45:430:45:46

As a High Court enforcement agent, Alan is acting well within his powers.

0:45:500:45:54

Right. High Court writ, all stamped, OK?

0:45:580:46:01

All I want him to do - Brian - is to be helpful to me and I'll go away.

0:46:060:46:10

But then Alan finds a clue.

0:46:100:46:13

I've just seen one of your receipts.

0:46:130:46:16

East Lancs Car and Commercials.

0:46:160:46:18

That suggests the debtor company is still trading here,

0:46:190:46:22

but unfortunately the receipt isn't for a vehicle,

0:46:220:46:25

so it isn't much help in terms of finding valuable assets.

0:46:250:46:29

Receipts for those are apparently with Brian.

0:46:290:46:31

Why don't you bring them down and show me so I can go away?

0:46:330:46:37

-Why are you being awkward?

-Awkward is an understatement.

0:46:370:46:40

Brian tells Alan to go ahead and order a low-loader to remove vehicles to

0:46:400:46:44

cover the debt. But he says when it arrives he'll turn up with proof

0:46:440:46:49

they don't belong to the debtor company, so can't be taken.

0:46:490:46:53

The only way Alan can find out if he's telling the truth is to call his bluff.

0:46:530:46:58

It might well prove to be a waste of time,

0:46:580:47:01

but Alan's job is to do whatever he can to get the claimant's money back.

0:47:010:47:05

So it's the only option left.

0:47:050:47:08

The office is ringing for a low-loader now,

0:47:080:47:10

so I'm just going to check the size of the vehicles

0:47:100:47:12

to see which ones we can take.

0:47:120:47:15

Calling the low-loader unleashes

0:47:150:47:17

a bout of activity inside the car yard.

0:47:170:47:20

The staff are removing car keys from the office,

0:47:200:47:23

the shutters to the unit have been rolled down

0:47:230:47:25

and they're blocking the exit to the yard.

0:47:250:47:28

-OVER PHONE:

-'Welcome to Lancashire Police.'

0:47:280:47:31

Alan's calling for back-up.

0:47:310:47:33

I need some police assistance, please.

0:47:330:47:35

The atmosphere is getting tense.

0:47:380:47:40

A large number of people are gathering, and the barricade

0:47:400:47:43

to the car yard is growing. Even a dog has been added to the mix.

0:47:430:47:47

The low-loader arrives.

0:47:490:47:50

This thing here, will that take that bollard away?

0:47:520:47:55

So do the police.

0:47:580:48:00

Basically, there's the High Court writ with the stamp on it, OK?

0:48:000:48:04

And then this guy turns up.

0:48:040:48:06

What's your name?

0:48:080:48:10

Is your name Shaun Cosgrave?

0:48:100:48:11

Which vans?

0:48:170:48:19

I'm not taking them.

0:48:190:48:21

There's a van inside.

0:48:210:48:23

This is what I asked

0:48:290:48:30

over an hour-and-a-half ago and no-one bothered...

0:48:300:48:33

So Brian's rang you, has he?

0:48:350:48:36

Alan can only take control of assets if they belong to the debtor.

0:48:390:48:43

So if the man really does have invoices in a different company name,

0:48:430:48:47

then the vans can't be removed.

0:48:470:48:49

Soon another man arrives with a bundle of paperwork.

0:48:510:48:55

Shall we go in the office, Mr Whatever-Your-Name-Is?

0:48:550:48:58

Inside the office, it's just as Alan feared it would be.

0:48:590:49:03

The invoices show that the cars belong not the debtor,

0:49:030:49:06

East Lancs Car and Commercials Ltd, but to a company called

0:49:060:49:10

Used-car Sales (Colne) Ltd.

0:49:100:49:12

Shaun Cosgrove is the director of both,

0:49:120:49:15

but they're separate legal entities.

0:49:150:49:17

Alan is going to have to leave without payment, and the frustration shows.

0:49:190:49:23

I think he just basically wanted to waste my time.

0:49:250:49:27

He knew what he was going to do.

0:49:270:49:29

He basically said to me, "You do what you need to do and when you arrive,

0:49:290:49:32

"I'll show you the paperwork."

0:49:320:49:34

He's messed my time, he's messed the police's time,

0:49:340:49:37

simply because he knew it was going to cost the sheriffs money

0:49:370:49:40

and not cost him anything.

0:49:400:49:43

On this occasion, persistence hasn't paid off,

0:49:430:49:46

but for the sheriffs, a thick skin is part of the job description.

0:49:460:49:49

I suppose it's the way things happen. You win some, you lose some.

0:49:490:49:53

As East Lancs Cars and Commercials Ltd doesn't appear to have any

0:49:530:49:57

assets that can be removed to cover its debt,

0:49:570:50:00

there's nothing more that can be done to get the claimant's money back.

0:50:000:50:04

Disputes between landlords and tenants are all too common.

0:50:150:50:19

Today, Lawrence and Kev are about to enforce a writ in a case where a

0:50:210:50:25

disagreement over a property

0:50:250:50:27

ended up being decided by the courts.

0:50:270:50:30

It's ten o'clock in the morning.

0:50:300:50:33

Romford, we're heading to.

0:50:330:50:34

We're going to go and find a Dr Soumyo Gorai.

0:50:340:50:39

Dr Gorai was taken to court by a former tenant who claims they were

0:50:400:50:44

unfairly evicted from the property.

0:50:440:50:46

And according to the information we have,

0:50:470:50:50

he proceeded to rent the property out to someone else

0:50:500:50:53

with all our client's property and personal belongings still in there.

0:50:530:50:57

The tenant claims they never got their stuff back, and took the case

0:50:580:51:02

to court to recover their costs.

0:51:020:51:04

They won a default judgment in their favour for £5,000,

0:51:040:51:08

some of which has now been paid.

0:51:080:51:10

But Kev and Lawrence are here for the rest.

0:51:100:51:13

He owes £1,670.

0:51:130:51:16

The sheriffs are arriving at what they believe

0:51:200:51:22

is Dr Gorai's home address

0:51:220:51:24

and they've spotted a black BMW they think is his.

0:51:240:51:27

Yeah, that's it, yeah.

0:51:300:51:31

The sheriffs have already done checks on a licence plate number

0:51:310:51:34

they've been supplied to confirm the BMW was free from finance

0:51:340:51:38

and so could be removed.

0:51:380:51:40

-But there is a problem.

-We have got it slightly wrong.

0:51:400:51:42

We were given the wrong number, were we?

0:51:420:51:45

One of the digits is different from what the sheriffs have been told.

0:51:450:51:49

Right, so we haven't got a result on it, then, have we?

0:51:490:51:52

That means they don't know whether

0:51:530:51:55

this car is clear of finance after all.

0:51:550:51:58

Lawrence heads to the house to see if the doctor is home.

0:51:580:52:01

They try the bell but there's no answer.

0:52:040:52:07

Lawrence looks for any sign of life.

0:52:070:52:10

Anything in the letterbox that could confirm that he lives here.

0:52:100:52:14

-There's one for him.

-It's addressed here, is it?

0:52:140:52:18

And another one and another one. And another one.

0:52:180:52:22

So the sheriffs are in the right place, but is the debtor here today?

0:52:220:52:26

With barbed wire on top of the wall, they won't be climbing over.

0:52:310:52:35

While Lawrence takes a closer look at the car,

0:52:350:52:38

Ken tries the neighbours.

0:52:380:52:39

I wonder if you could help me. Do you know if it's Dr Gorai living next door?

0:52:390:52:43

But they don't seem to know.

0:52:430:52:45

All right, no worries.

0:52:450:52:47

It looks like this could be a wasted trip.

0:52:470:52:50

We've just had to leave paperwork.

0:52:500:52:52

It's unfortunate

0:52:520:52:54

that we were given the wrong registration for the vehicle.

0:52:540:52:57

It wouldn't have mattered whether they were in or not,

0:52:570:53:00

we'd have taken the car.

0:53:000:53:02

So we'll have to hope now that either he gets in touch and pays,

0:53:020:53:06

or the car is still here when we come back,

0:53:060:53:09

if he doesn't get in touch.

0:53:090:53:10

-Hold up.

-I have my suspicions about that... Ah.

0:53:100:53:13

But just as hope of getting debt paid is fading,

0:53:140:53:18

a car pulls into the drive.

0:53:180:53:21

It's Dr Gorai.

0:53:210:53:23

Once he's stepped out of the car,

0:53:230:53:25

Lawrence takes the opportunity to acquire his car keys.

0:53:250:53:28

It won't be worth as much as the BMW, but it's something.

0:53:280:53:33

My name is Mr Griggs, my colleague and I are enforcement agents.

0:53:330:53:36

We're here today with a High Court writ.

0:53:360:53:38

The total outstanding is £1,670.16

0:53:380:53:42

We're ordered here today by the High Court to take control of goods

0:53:420:53:45

to clear that debt, unless you pay in full.

0:53:450:53:48

-I can pay in full.

-If you give me the account details,

0:53:480:53:50

-I will transfer it straight away.

-OK.

0:53:500:53:54

Dr Gorai has immediately offered to settle the bill,

0:53:540:53:57

so why didn't he pay earlier?

0:53:570:53:59

Your letters don't give us any account details.

0:53:590:54:02

No, but it gives you details of how you can get in touch with us to make

0:54:020:54:05

-the payment, doesn't it?

-But without account details, how can I make a payment?

0:54:050:54:08

Right, that's something you need to take up with the Ministry of Justice, sir,

0:54:080:54:12

because the forms are prescribed forms by the Ministry of Justice.

0:54:120:54:15

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:54:150:54:16

And Lawrence is happy to provide all the details Dr Gorai needs.

0:54:170:54:21

It's that sort code, that account number.

0:54:210:54:24

It needs to be done as an immediate payment.

0:54:240:54:26

If you do that, then I'll check with my office, and providing

0:54:260:54:29

the money has gone into the account, we will issue you a receipt,

0:54:290:54:32

you can have your keys back and we'll be on our way.

0:54:320:54:35

Without my keys, I can't get into my property.

0:54:350:54:37

-That's a car key, sir.

-My house key is in the boot of the car.

0:54:370:54:41

Lawrence doesn't want to give the car keys back,

0:54:410:54:45

but opens the boot for him.

0:54:450:54:47

Dr Gorai unlocks the house

0:54:500:54:52

and starts to get some things from the car.

0:54:520:54:54

But he's left the front door open, so Kev steps in,

0:54:540:54:58

closely followed by Lawrence.

0:54:580:55:00

-Can you wait outside?

-No, my colleague is already inside, sir.

0:55:000:55:03

We'll come in while you make the payment.

0:55:030:55:06

Is that what you...

0:55:060:55:08

The sheriffs are legally allowed to walk through an open door

0:55:080:55:11

into a residential premises.

0:55:110:55:13

Once inside, they can't be told to leave.

0:55:130:55:15

But ten minutes later,

0:55:180:55:20

the sheriffs are back out of their own accord

0:55:200:55:22

with their every move filmed by the debtor,

0:55:220:55:25

who is also willing to volunteer his side of the story.

0:55:250:55:28

This was regarding a tenant of mine

0:55:300:55:33

who stayed in my property for seven months without paying rent,

0:55:330:55:38

trashed my property,

0:55:380:55:40

kept a snake in the property,

0:55:400:55:42

kept rats in the property,

0:55:420:55:44

completely trashed my garden.

0:55:440:55:47

Dr Gorai claims the tenants left of their own accord

0:55:470:55:50

when he chased them for the rent.

0:55:500:55:52

Then I used my keys to get into the property and there

0:55:520:55:55

were some goods left in the property.

0:55:550:55:59

When we changed the locks for the front door,

0:55:590:56:01

they then went to the court and tried to get money back

0:56:010:56:04

for the £5,000 of goods that they thought I had stolen from them,

0:56:040:56:09

which we had kept for them for some time

0:56:090:56:11

but they didn't come to collect it,

0:56:110:56:12

and when they didn't come to collect it,

0:56:120:56:15

we had to dispose of the goods

0:56:150:56:17

because we didn't want to touch their goods.

0:56:170:56:19

But the court ruled in the tenants' favour, and ordered Dr Gorai

0:56:190:56:23

to pay them £5,000, which he hasn't done.

0:56:230:56:26

Dr Gorai admits he received a demand for payment

0:56:260:56:29

from the sheriffs,

0:56:290:56:31

but didn't think he'd been given enough information.

0:56:310:56:34

There was no bank account,

0:56:340:56:36

there was no address to where the payment had to be made,

0:56:360:56:39

there was just a telephone number,

0:56:390:56:42

and our experience of telephone numbers is very bad.

0:56:420:56:45

He gave me the details today and I paid within ten minutes.

0:56:450:56:50

It's a much better outcome than the sheriffs anticipated.

0:56:510:56:55

That went very well. We were basically about to leave because we couldn't get an answer.

0:56:570:57:02

But he did pay fairly quickly.

0:57:020:57:05

He was a bit awkward, as some people tend to be.

0:57:050:57:08

We showed him ID when he pulled up on his driveway

0:57:080:57:11

but then he was wanting to see it again.

0:57:110:57:13

He didn't want to sign the receipt, either.

0:57:130:57:16

It doesn't matter to us, we've got the payment. So job done.

0:57:160:57:20

And that means the tenant whose property went missing

0:57:200:57:23

will get the money the court said they were owed.

0:57:230:57:27

Sheriffs Lawrence and Kev visit a business selling mobility scooters which owes a customer a refund, but events take a very unexpected turn.

After a woman was left on the brink of financial ruin when a building project went wrong, sheriffs Tommy and Craig track down the man who the courts say owes her money - but will he pay up?

Sheriff Ken Warby is confronted with a very unusual problem as he tries to enforce a high court writ at a jewellers.