Browse content similar to Episode 10. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Meet The Sheriffs.
-My name's Mr Grix, my colleague and I are enforcement agents.
It's to do with a High Court order.
They work for the High Court, and if it says you're owed money,
it's their job to go and get it.
I'm here for £6,072.18.
They can demand payment on the spot.
I'm here for the full balance.
How are you going to pay it?
Or remove assets instead.
The car will be going unless you can pay it.
You'll have a week to pay in full before it gets sold at auction.
Obstructing their work can be a criminal offence.
-I wouldn't do that if I were you.
-The door needs to stay open.
Every year in England and Wales,
unpaid debts totalling more than £80 million
are recovered by The Sheriffs.
Neil Cummings bought an eco-friendly heating system,
which turned out to be dangerous.
I paid over £10,500.
I ended up with a system that was completely unsafe.
There's a dramatic intervention from Lawrence to stop assets disappearing
from the business that sold it.
They were literally engines running,
I just had to swing the van across and block them in.
Tommy's looking for a result at a football club with a debt to pay.
I won't leave here today without payment or taking stuff with me.
Lawrence confronts a car dealer who owes a £12,000 refund
to a customer.
I will ask the question again, what can you pay?
It's eight o'clock in the morning,
and enforcement agent Lawrence Grix is already on the road.
He's heading into Surrey for an unpaid debt
owed by a business specialising in eco-friendly heating systems.
We're down near Guildford today,
just coming into a place called Gomshall.
We've got the Green Shop and Jan Aukstolis.
I believe it's a shop that sells wood-burning stoves and things,
and there was an issue with a wood-burning stove.
We're here today for just under £8,500.
The claimant in the case is Neil Cummings,
a self-employed builder who came across the company
after embarking on a labour of love, building his own family home.
The idea of actually building a house specifically for us
was a lifelong ambition.
There's no gas supply, there's no oil here,
so I decided that I wanted to go the green route.
After researching his options,
Neil found a local supplier and installer,
the Green Shop in Gomshall.
He went to meet the man in charge, Jan Aukstolis.
He gave me a quote, which I accepted.
He talked the talk,
he seemed to certainly know what he was talking about.
At the heart of the whole system was a wood-burning stove,
and initially Neil was very pleased with the installation.
All of the work proceeded well and everything was installed.
Everything seemed to be fine and above board.
That was until Neil wanted to add a new feature on to the system,
and when he couldn't get hold of Mr Aukstolis,
called in another plumber.
He came along and had a look at the system that we had here
for a couple of hours, and he turned round and said,
"I'm really not happy".
He said that in his opinion,
the system didn't have enough safety features within it.
So Neil had it disconnected.
When he contacted the manufacturer of one of the other main components
in his heating system,
not only did they confirm what the plumber was saying,
they also forwarded an e-mail they'd sent to Mr Aukstolis.
And in the e-mail, it basically turned round and said that
the wood-burning stove used in conjunction with this particular
system MUST have an in-built quench coil."
The quench coil is designed to release energy from the system
in the event of a power cut or safety features failing.
While it's not necessary in every wood-burning stove,
Neil's particular system required one,
and without it he feared he was sitting on a potential time bomb.
What we've actually got is a pressurised system,
which is building up and up and up.
It's like an old steam locomotive,
if you can't release the energy, it's going to explode,
and the idea of actually spending my life savings building this property,
to potentially have, you know,
my family in a dangerous situation, is scary.
Neil tried to get in touch with Jan Aukstolis to see what he had to say.
He didn't reply to any of my text messages, e-mails, I phoned him,
I went down to the shop, I couldn't get hold of him at all.
Eventually, Neil decided the only option was to get quotes to rectify
the work and complete the installation,
and then take Mr Aukstolis and the Green Shop to court,
to cover the costs.
When they didn't defend the case, Neil won a default judgment.
Since then he hasn't paid any money at all,
so I've decided that I need to take this case further.
He's now escalated it to the High Court
and obtained a writ for the sheriffs to enforce.
So hopefully in their hands we'll see what they can do.
Lawrence is en route to the shop,
and his research in the office has painted a promising picture
of what he might find.
It looks quite a reasonably large premises,
when you look at it on Google,
with a car park to the rear.
So hopefully they'll have assets there.
There is money in wood-burning stoves.
Lawrence arrives at the Green Shop
just as some workers are about to get into their vans.
I'm going to have to try and catch this fella here, I think.
So there's no hanging about.
Morning, gents. I'm looking for Jan Aukstolis.
-Is that you at all?
Is he here? Is Mr Aukstolis here?
Our cameraman retreats to the road,
while Lawrence tries to find out where Mr Aukstolis is,
but the workers here appear to be installers or engineers.
They're keen to get off to their first job of the day
and don't want to wait.
When they start preparing to leave, Lawrence swings into action...
Repositioning his van...
..and blocking the entire entrance to the car park.
Sorry to have to do this to you, guys.
I fully appreciate that you're only just trying to earn a living
and do your job.
But as their vehicles are sign-written
and could belong to the debtor,
Lawrence can't let them leave until he has answers,
which seem to be hard to come by.
Mr Aukstolis isn't here.
The guys that are here say that they basically run the place,
they don't see him very often.
The three vehicles that I've managed to block in
are all clear of finance.
If I can't get hold of him and the guys here can't get hold of him
then, yeah, I'll basically remove the vehicles.
But getting hold of Mr Aukstolis turns out to be quite simple after all.
One man who's here is showing more interest in the case.
Mr Grix, G-R-I-X.
And Lawrence puts two and two together.
So, are you Mr Aukstolis, then?
It is indeed Mr Aukstolis -
the man who sold Neil his dangerous heating system.
Lawrence shows him his writ and explains he's here for £8,440.
Mr Aukstolis tells him nothing here is owned by him,
but by his business,
which is registered as The Green Shop Gomshall Limited.
Lawrence demands proof of ownership,
but in the end he doesn't need to see it.
Perhaps mindful of his staff trapped in the car park
and unable to get to work,
Mr Aukstolis manages to come up with some money.
Lawrence moves his van out of the way and lets them go.
That didn't go too badly.
The gentleman there actually was Mr Aukstolis,
and he's managed to come up with just under £3,500 today,
and I've put him on a monthly arrangement of £1,000 a month for the rest.
All being well, he should clear his debt in five months.
word of the payment has come as a welcome relief to Neil Cummings.
Really good news from the sheriffs.
We've actually finally managed to get hold of the first initial payment of just over £3,500,
so that's come in and that's brilliant.
So we've already got the new wood-burning stove,
which is just sitting in place, it's not actually connected.
Let's just hope that Jan is true to his word
and honours the agreement and it will be the end to a lot of stress
and anxiety that we've had over the last year.
Using the County Courts to try to recover money you're owed isn't difficult.
1.5 million money claims are made every year in England and Wales,
involving anything from faulty goods or poor workmanship,
to unpaid invoices.
Claims can be filed by post or online for a small fee.
Both parties in the case will be asked to submit evidence
and you may have to attend a court hearing.
If you're successful,
a County Court Judgment, or CCJ, will be issued against the debtor,
and if they still don't pay, that's when you call the sheriffs.
Enforcement agent Tommy Coyle is in the East Midlands,
with an unusual case on his hands against a sports club.
We're on our way to Corby today.
We're visiting Corby Town Football Club.
I think they're quite a small club.
There's previously been an agent visit the property,
spoke to a Steve, who's the chairman, who promised payment.
The payment has not been forthcoming.
Corby Town FC has been taken to court for unpaid invoices
by a company which has done ground work on the pitch.
The club didn't defend the case and judgment was issued by default.
It owes £10,965.
Tommy may not be much of a football fan,
but today he's hoping for a win.
Hopefully they'll have some assets there.
It could be a small bar, it could be some minivans,
for transporting the players round. It could be some trophies,
but I don't know how many trophies Corby Town have won recently,
but we'll have a look.
We're hoping for a result today, possibly a 3-2 for Tommy.
Thankfully, it's not match day.
Welcome to Corby Town FC.
Although Tommy has no trouble getting into the grounds,
finding anyone to talk to might be another matter.
But he soon navigates his way into some kind of clubhouse,
where a team talk appears to be underway.
-Hi, you all right?
-You all right? Is the chairman about?
Could you give him a call for me, it's quite urgent?
I'm an enforcement agent.
Tommy's stumbled on the club's youth academy,
and the man in charge offers to get the chairman on the phone.
-I don't know what else I can do.
Is there anyone else you can call?
The problem I have, I'm literally here,
I'm going to start listing assets down straightaway.
Once I've listed everything down,
I'll literally be getting contractors in
and start removing stuff.
Understandably, it's not what the man wants to hear,
especially as he says the academy is separate and not part of the club.
Right, let's start listing everything down.
News that an enforcement agent is planning to remove the contents of
the clubhouse soon gets through to the right person.
-You all right?
-The chairman on the phone.
-Is this Steve, is it?
But club chairman Steve Noble hasn't called up to make a payment -
he instead has a different take on events.
He's talking about a deal he's come to with the claimant.
I appreciate what you're saying,
but unless I'm instructed by a court,
I have to carry on with my actions today.
All right, speak to you in bit.
The chairman seems to think that he's come to an agreement with the claimant.
The claimant was going to pay our cost directly to us,
and then they was going to come to an agreement between themselves.
I've got no notes of that.
And a quick call to Tommy's office suggests that while
the claimant may be willing to accept a payment schedule,
he wants any such deal to be arranged through the sheriffs.
In the meantime, Tommy's search for assets continues.
In the bar, there's some alcohol.
Limited wet stock.
And a modest collection of silverware.
Three cups up there, and one large one there,
so I'll make a note of them.
Though the first aid room turns out to be of more interest.
Here we go.
Resuscitating machine, an electronic one.
I think you just put the paddles on, start her up and it saves your life, basically.
They're really good bits of kit.
Tommy takes the kit to the van and tries to reach the chairman again
to see if he's going to come up with the money.
Hello, Mr Noble, it's the enforcement agent.
Tommy wants at least £3,000 now, but the chairman says he can't pay.
If you're telling me it's impossible to make any kind of payment today,
then kind of our conversation's going to come to an end because
I'm just going to have to carry on with what I'm going to do here.
Mr Noble, I'll probably be here for the next three hours because
I'll get the contractors on their way.
If anything does get sorted, let me know,
but we're going to carry on with what we're going to do here.
Right. Not paying anything then.
It looks like removal is Tommy's only option,
and he takes his search for assets pitch-side.
Which, believe it or not, could be removed,
although they're not as useful as what's in the outbuildings.
That's the one. This is exactly what I'm looking for,
something with a bit of monetary value.
I'll have the keys, as well.
But before he can get too carried away,
he's interrupted by a groundsman.
Aren't they? Whose are they?
Have you got any evidence? Who are you?
In terms of assets, the football club isn't proving to be rich pickings.
Tommy's running out of places to look,
and thoughts wander to Sheriffs FC.
I'll be a forward, Kev on the wing.
We'll have Wild in defence, with Ken.
Alan in goal, Grixy will be our manager.
Tommy returns to the van to start organising the removal,
but is interrupted by another phone call.
You hold the lease for the grounds here and the building? Yeah.
There's been a substitution and a new player is on the pitch.
It's the landlord, who's got wind that the club's goalposts,
among other things, might be about to be removed,
and it sounds like he could be willing to make a payment.
OK, sir. All right, speak to you in a bit. Bye.
He's willing to pay on their behalf the 3,000,
and he'll have it paid by midday tomorrow.
With limited assets here,
and other multiple claims over their ownership,
it's a deal Tommy's prepared to agree to.
The landlord soon arrives at the club,
where he meets with Tommy off-camera.
A controlled goods agreement is signed for the assets listed down.
With the complexities we had there,
I think it's a good result, getting the CGA £1,500 per month,
with the £3,000 paid tomorrow.
The £3,000 arrived as promised,
and the company which did the work on the pitch
has started to receive its money.
Lawrence and Kev are in Sevenoaks in Kent.
They've got another High Court writ to enforce,
this time against a business which specialises in classic cars.
We are heading to a car garage called Karden Europe.
They owe £12,963.
This debt is relating to the sale of a Porsche, I believe.
The garage they're going to looks well-stocked,
and the sheriffs are feeling confident.
Little do they know that today is not going to go as well
as they would hope.
The case began when taxi driver Nick Lewthwaite from Durham
was looking to buy a new car for him and his wife.
After saving up some money and taking a loan,
they decided to treat themselves to the car of their dreams.
It was always my ideal thing to have a Porsche 911,
the most iconic car.
And when Nick found one on Auto Trader,
it seemed to be everything they wanted.
Light metallic blue, matching blue leather.
It had so many upgrades, it made the car really special.
Absolutely perfect for what we were looking for.
The car was some distance away in Kent,
at a dealers called Karden Europe Limited.
But Nick made the trip to have a look and met the company director,
-He seemed very knowledgeable.
On his website he'd been in the trade for 30 years.
He explained that he shipped cars all over the world.
He was a very convincing man.
Nick met the £34,000 asking price with
the part exchange of his previous car, a BMW, and £15,000 on top.
He then drove away as the proud owner of a Porsche 911.
Dream come true. It was an absolute dream come true.
But not everything about the car was perfect.
After about 100 miles, the clutch started getting slightly heavier
and it was starting to struggle to go into gear.
And Nick's wife found it even more difficult.
She said it was undriveable for her,
and that's when I rang them up and told them straightaway,
I said, "There's something not quite right here."
Mr Austin advised Nick to take it to a specialist who made some repairs,
but they also made an alarming discovery -
the car was still on a finance agreement,
which its previous owner hadn't paid off.
That means it was still technically owned by the bank.
I don't know how much was owing on the car,
but it still had four and a half years to run.
So I'm effectively paying for a car that I don't own.
Mr Austin claimed he'd taken out the finance arrangement himself as
the dealer and would soon clear it,
but when that didn't happen after a week,
Nick lost faith and arranged to return the car
and get his old one back.
He looked round the car and he says, "I'll give you £12,500."
Which, along with the return of his BMW,
was £2,500 less than what he paid.
I said, "Well, you haven't mentioned this on the phone."
He said, "I've got my loss of profit."
Eventually Mr Austin offered to reimburse £13,000,
and Nick decided to accept it for the time being,
in the form of a cheque.
I thought, I'll take his cheque for £13,000,
and I'll take him to the small claims court for the £2,000.
I'm not going to get into a fist fight over a car.
Put his cheque into the bank, and unfortunately it bounced,
it was stopped.
Mr Austin later made a bank transfer for £3,000,
but despite Nick chasing time and time again for the rest,
it never came.
Eventually he made a claim through the County Courts.
The judge ruled against Karden Europe,
in favour of Nick's wife Nicola,
as the purchase was originally made from her bank account.
But that judgment hasn't been paid either.
Now the Lewthwaites have taken the next logical step.
So we've involved the sheriffs,
and basically they're probably the last hope to get any money.
Back in Kent, Lawrence and Kev are about to arrive at Karden Europe.
Kev's notes suggest Mr Austin wants to come to a deal.
The debtor has actually been in touch with us
and tried to make an arrangement...
..but we're going to head over there now and look for full payment.
I believe that the garage we're going to has got quite a lot of stock,
of particularly high-value cars.
So we're hoping that although 12,900 is quite a lot of money,
probably it would only take one of these cars to cover the debt entirely.
I just hope they're not owned by someone else.
The sheriffs pull into the garage and park up.
A man is on the forecourt.
-Hi sir, you work here?
It's Andrew Austin, the garage owner,
but he's interrupted before Lawrence can find out any more.
In the meantime, he eyes up the stock.
That's the TR6 that's on the website for 19,995, I believe. Lovely.
Not all the cars on display here are classics,
but there's certainly enough to get their teeth into.
The next question is, who owns them?
Mr Austin is off the phone, so it's time to find out.
My name's Mr Grix. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.
We've got a High Court writ against Karden Europe
in favour of a Mrs Nicola Lewthwaite.
-Oh, right, yeah.
-You've been in touch about it.
We're here today to take control of goods to the value of £12,963.19.
-The only way to prevent further action is to pay in full.
OK, well we haven't got... Karden Europe wouldn't have that,
that amount of goods.
Well, there's plenty of stock on here.
Yeah... But Karden Europe works as a commission-based company.
-Right, so everything's on SOR?
-Have you got paperwork to that effect?
-Yeah, pretty much, yeah.
-Yeah, if I can see, that's what I need to see.
Mr Austin says all his cars are sale or return - in other words,
he's selling them on behalf of their owners for a fee.
It's exactly what Lawrence and Kev had feared might be the case,
and Mr Austin seems to have the paperwork to prove it.
Basically, these are sale or return documents
for every vehicle that we've got here.
-Can I have a quick look through?
Right, we need to go out and check these.
I'll give you half, I'll have half.
They head outside and begin checking
the documents against every car here.
Right, I've got the Kangoo...
I've got the Maserati...
And one by one, they rule them out.
There's the Zafira.
-I've got the Merc.
-You've got the Merc, yeah.
-I've got the TR6 and I've got that Morris.
But there are a few cars which don't seem to be accounted for.
There's still other vehicles that are on the forecourt that aren't there,
which is the Alfa...
the Focus RS...
The Focus RS is my own personal vehicle.
-That's all financed, on finance.
Right. The Audi?
-And the black BM 3-Series out the back.
It's on sale or return.
Right, so we need to see the paperwork for that.
I haven't got that at this moment in time.
So you didn't give the person a receipt?
Very trusting of him.
Mr Austin produces more paperwork, to rule out his car and the Alfa,
leaving just two within Lawrence's reach.
They're not worth that much, and so he now knows he's not in a position
to insist on full payment after all.
His best chance of recovering Nick Lewthwaite's missing money
might now rest on Mr Austin coming up with a decent offer.
Mr Austin says the company has no money at all at the moment,
but Lawrence is sceptical.
As a business, you can't not be able to get your hands on some kind of money.
Have you got a bank statement you can show me
that shows your current financial state for the company?
No, not physically here.
He does, however, manage to produce a recent e-mail from his bank.
There you are, look. "I note that the account is overdrawn at 484.
"Can you please make arrangements to repay this sum."
-Which we haven't done yet.
As the two cars are the only leverage
the sheriffs have to squeeze any payment out of Mr Austin,
Lawrence calls his office to organise a tow truck.
Can you give Rob a buzz
and see what removal trucks he's got available?
But rather that than coming up with the money,
ten minutes later, Mr Austin pops into the back
and returns with signed SOR agreements for both cars.
Lawrence can't quite understand it.
Right, but you didn't have them just now,
so how have you got signed copies?
-I got them sent through.
-From my accounts woman.
Mr Austin is saying the woman who does his accounts has just sent
the documents remotely to his printer.
Lawrence doesn't believe him.
I believe you've just written these up yourself
and signed them yourself,
so I'll just leave the trucks on their way.
I haven't signed them myself, but there you go.
At this point, Mr Austin says he needs to go and get a car MOTed
and starts to leave.
Right, I've got to go.
-OK then, sir.
-I can't leave you in here.
You can't throw us out, either.
All right, look, what can I give you in the form of money...?
-You've just said...
-From me personally, what...?
-You said you couldn't do anything.
I will ask the question again,
which I've asked you repeatedly since I've been here -
-what can you pay?
-Can I give you 500 quid?
-No, it's not enough.
-Well, there you go, that's my personal account,
with 663 in it.
I can do you £500 now,
and then we can sort out the terms of the rest of the deal.
After seeing a near-empty bank account
and faced with the choice of either £500
or removing some low-value cars,
which probably don't belong to him anyway,
Lawrence has finally pushed it as far as he can.
He takes the £500
and gets Mr Austin to sign up to a repayment plan for £1,000 a month.
There's your receipt and your card.
You've paid £500 today.
-You've got to pay £1,000 a month.
-If you fail to stick to the arrangement,
we'll come back and take whatever cars are available at the time.
It's not the outcome they wanted, but it's all they could do.
Unfortunately, Karden itself, even though it looks good on paper,
doesn't appear to really have any assets.
Basically every vehicle's on sale or return,
so Mr Austin paid £500 out of his own account,
basically just to get rid of us
and I've signed him up to £1,000 a month,
which, given that there isn't actually any leverage,
I don't think that was a bad, bad result.
But, you know, we pushed as hard as we could.
Hopefully he'll stick to it.
Mr Austin told us that the finance on the Porsche was taken out by his company
and would have been cleared if the Lewthwaites hadn't returned the car.
He says he deducted money from
the refund to cover his costs,
including extra mileage on the car
and a screw in one of the tyres.
He says he only stopped the cheque after
the Lewthwaites threatened further legal action,
and he says the company tries to act fairly at all times.