Browse content similar to Episode 2. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Meet the sheriffs.
-My name's Mr Grix, my colleagues 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 was 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.
Coming up... Louise Alderson bought a second-hand car which was
The back wheels were only holding on by one wheel nut,
the side impact bars weren't there. I am lucky to be alive.
But when the sheriffs visit the dealer, it all kicks off.
Lawrence discovers his claimant's not the only one owed money.
Now that you've told me that, if this isn't paid,
I'm going to be pulling the shutters down and changing the locks.
Ken's got a writ for a multinational giant.
Look at the size of these buildings! It looks like Cape Canaveral.
Today in the West Midlands, Tommy Coyle and Craig Wild's
investigative skills are about to be tested.
We're going back to a job where we've been to before.
It's a car pound. When we went before, we left notification of our attendance.
They haven't responded to our paperwork,
so we're back here again.
The debtor deals in second-hand cars, and the claimant in the case
is the Louise Alderson, a teacher who came across
the company when she was looking for a new car to get her to work.
My old car had done quite a lot of mileage, it was getting to
the point where it probably needed a lot of repair work.
I was looking for another Ford Fiesta.
And when I spotted a lovely car advertised in Auto Trader,
it looked really sporty and really attractive.
And I'd just got married
and my husband said, "Yeah, spoil yourself."
The Fiesta was £6,000,
reduced to £5,000 with the part exchange of her old car.
She took out a loan to pay for it, and drove it away.
But it wasn't long before she experienced the first sign of trouble.
About ten miles, maybe 15 miles away, on the way home,
the engine warning light came on.
So I pulled over, phoned them up and said this is what's happened,
and he basically said, "Turn the engine off and turn it back
"on again, and I assure you it won't come back on." And it didn't.
But when the same thing happened the following day, Louise began
to get worried and took the car to a Ford specialist to check it over.
They found that the car had been badly repaired
following an accident. And there was a catalogue of problems.
The welding had been done incorrectly,
the brake pipe was severely bent.
The fan... The wiring for the brakes was actually hanging into the fan,
and all of the electrics, most of them,
had been disconnected, so it didn't even have air conditioning.
It was a shock.
A, I was very emotionally upset, and B,
I'd just spent the money, couldn't afford, needed a car for
work and was thinking, "What on earth am I going to do?"
What she did was get straight on the phone to the dealers.
They told me that the actual owner was away...abroad at the time.
And we'd have to wait until the following Monday until he was back.
That Monday came and went, no call. I phoned them.
They still said, "Oh, no, he's still not here, you'll have to wait."
However, they just kept fobbing me off.
Frustrated, Louise called Trading Standards.
They sent out an independent vehicle inspector, who found even more
problems with the car.
The back wheels were only holding on by one wheel nut.
He found there had been other damage,
the side impact bars weren't there.
He actually said I was very lucky to be alive.
And that's how I do feel, that I am lucky to be alive.
Yet even with this damning verdict on the car's dangerous condition,
the garage still wouldn't commit to giving her a refund.
So, Louise pursued the dealership through the County Courts.
They didn't defend the case, and she was awarded a default judgment,
requiring the company to pay her back, plus costs.
They didn't, and now Louise has turned to the sheriffs as
a last resort.
The whole thing has been such an ordeal,
I've had sleepless nights, I've been ill through it.
All I can hope is that the sheriffs can get some money back for
this for me, because if they can't do it, nobody can.
Last time the sheriffs visited the dealership,
they found a large lot full of vehicles.
However, it was locked up and no-one was around,
so all they could do was leave a letter.
Today, they're back, and it already looks more promising.
-Are you ready?
So it is open,
we're going to go straight in now and hopefully confront these people.
Again, there are plenty of cars in the yard,
and this time the sheriffs have no problem finding someone to speak to.
-How are you?
-Not too bad, mate.
-He'll explain it.
-Hello, sir, Mr Wild.
-Sheriff one, sheriff two.
-Is the boss about?
-He is not here at the moment.
-Can he be contacted?
We need to get him on the phone, basically.
They don't seem surprised to see the sheriffs,
and manage to get the company director on the phone.
It's to do with the High Court writ that's been issued against
the company for £8,627.07, as it stands at the moment.
It seems that it could be... he's just sorting it out.
Maybe he got the letter before. So, it could be getting sorted.
Actually, the situation isn't quite as straightforward as Tommy is hoping.
The director doesn't want to pay,
and says the sheriffs can't touch the cars here.
He's saying that all the stock belongs to another limited company,
and they're supplying us now more documentation for the cars here.
In other words, none of the assets here belong to the debtor.
If so, then the sheriffs will more than likely have to leave
empty-handed, but they're not going to just take his word for it.
So what we need to do, we'll just make a list now.
-If we can tick them off.
So they start noting the registration numbers of the cars.
PHONE RINGS Just when they're getting stuck in,
Craig's interrupted by a phone call from his office.
The director has sent in some paperwork as promised,
but it only serves to convince the sheriffs they're on the right track.
We've had an e-mail in straight away from the director, but they only
list two cars, which I don't think are even here, to be fair.
Later, tempers flare as the sheriffs up the ante.
Mind that egg.
If this balance isn't paid, then we are instructed to remove these vehicles.
The sheriffs are often called upon to visit companies
with cash-flow problems who are struggling to pay their bills.
Jobs like these can be tricky,
as the sheriffs are tasked with getting payments for their clients,
but they'd rather not put anyone out of business in the process.
This morning, enforcement agent Lawrence Grix is visiting
a company in Kent.
We're in the Garden of England today, just near Tonbridge.
Going to a company called MetCon Sustainable Building Systems.
It looks like, basically, they haven't paid one of their suppliers.
MetCon Sustainable Building Ltd has been taken to court by
a supplier which sold them some steel.
They didn't defend the case, and so a default judgment was awarded.
MetCon now owes £5,934.
It is a trading address.
And it's a limited company, so hopefully there'll be some assets there.
And we'll be able to get this resolved.
But as he pulls up outside the premises, Lawrence is disappointed.
First impressions, it doesn't look like they've got a lot here,
to be honest.
There's a pick-up that's sign-written.
Lawrence, however, is never one to prejudge a situation...
and heads inside in search of a manager.
Hello there, sir. Is this MetCon Sustainable Building Systems?
Lawrence is ushered through to a warehouse.
Who's in charge at the moment?
Where he explains to the staff the purpose of his visit.
I'm asking who's in charge here at the moment.
I've got a High Court writ against this company.
Pretty soon he's handed the director on the phone.
The director, it seems, knows all about the debt.
He says the company owes money to a number of people and is
trying to agree a repayment plan.
You've sent a proposal for a company voluntary arrangement?
You say you have got an insolvency practitioner involved, yeah?
Right, so have you sent the proposal to all your other creditors?
The business has applied for what's known as
a company voluntary arrangement.
That's a legally binding agreement which helps a company with
cash-flow problems gradually pay off its debts while continuing to trade.
Such an arrangement would prevent Lawrence enforcing today.
But it has to be approved by 75% of the company's creditors first,
and that hasn't yet happened.
Now that you've told me that, it actually doesn't put you in
a better position, it puts you in a worse position.
It means I've got to act today to secure this debt for our claimant.
The company may owe money to a number of parties,
but Lawrence is working for only one of them.
What I'm going to do, because there's so much stuff here,
and it's difficult to remove, I am now going to call
a locksmith and I'm going to secure the premises. I'm going to change the locks,
secure the premises and take control of goods on the premises.
That's my only option.
Unless, of course, the director is able to pay instead.
The amount due is £5,934.69.
If I end up having to secure the premises, basically there's
going to be another £1,800 plus VAT go onto that.
OK, then, sir. Thanks, bye-bye.
He said give him 20 minutes, so I think he's now focused his
mind a little bit and he's going to try and come up with the money.
20 minutes later, the director does indeed call back.
This time asking for bank details.
Right, it's NatWest bank.
But just as it appears to be heading in the right direction,
No payment is made, and the director keeps asking for more time.
Another hour passes, and Lawrence is running out of patience.
I got the gentleman here to phone the director again,
and he said, "Give him another 15 minutes."
It's been another 15 minutes, he's trying him again now.
He's also tried to get a shareholder,
who apparently is the money man,
but he's not answering his phone at the moment.
Not been able to get him, no?
There's not much in the way of assets here,
it's mainly raw materials, and the preformed bits of building
that they've already made, which, really, would only be worth scrap value.
There is a machine for folding the steel, folds it into a
three-quarter box, which apparently they're about £200,000 new.
Well, obviously this isn't new,
and unless there's somebody who specifically wants to buy it,
we'd probably be looking at scrap value for it, to be honest.
There is the sign-written pick-up,
but the rest of the vehicles here appear to belong to the staff.
-So that white Transit's yours as well, is it?
But then, finally, Lawrence gets another call.
-This time from the company's shareholder.
Lawrence is hoping he will understand the urgency of the situation.
I've been here since 11:45,
so I think I've been more than patient so far.
I have got to execute this writ to its fullest NOW.
It doesn't matter where you are in the world, sir, if you've got
the funds to make a payment, it can be done from anywhere.
He's on holiday in Cornwall at the moment.
You could actually hear seagulls in the background when I spoke to him.
So he said he's not in a position to actually deal with it himself.
I'll give him a few more minutes just to make a couple of phone calls.
So, yeah, hopefully it's going to get resolved shortly.
It does. Lawrence soon confirms with his office that a payment has been made.
Brilliant, cheers. Bye.
I shall issue you a receipt.
My favourite bit.
We got paid in full in the end. Good job, really.
No aggression, everybody here was amicable.
There you go. Thanks very much.
I'm pleased, certainly for the guys here, that I didn't have to...
didn't have to lock the doors, which obviously is one of the main
reasons, I think, it got paid, because they wanted to keep
the business going and keep the guys employed, so that's it.
We're out of here.
Cheers, mate. See you later.
Lawrence is on his way,
and the steel supplier who hadn't been paid has now got its money.
MetCon Sustainable Building Systems Ltd's application to enter a
company voluntary arrangement with its creditors has now been successful.
In the West Midlands, Tommy and Craig are at a used-car dealers
who owe just over £8,500 to Louise Alderson,
who bought a car from them which was too dangerous to drive.
The boss of the business claims all the cars on the forecourt
today belong to another company.
But he's not here, and so far has e-mailed through paperwork for just two of them.
Now Craig's office have rung to say he's sent two more.
So he's supplied those four. But no others yet.
So those four are obviously exempt.
Sheriffs are entitled to do a diligent search of
a debtor's premises.
While they wait for the paperwork to trickle in, Craig has a look
through the filing cabinet to see if he can speed the process up.
The first thing he finds is a sales ledger.
This document here says "purchased from the third-party company",
and this is for a Subaru that's outside,
but it's only an 02 plate, and we're after 8,000 quid.
The document shows that one of the cars outside was bought FROM
the very company the sheriffs were told owns everything here.
Something isn't stacking up.
Seize this paperwork, then, yeah? They ain't having it back.
Confident they're onto a winner, Tommy takes all the keys and
documents he can from the cabin and locks them in his van.
Craig calls up the director and gets straight to the point.
The balance stands at £8,627.07.
I need an answer from you, and if you want to pay this bill or not.
That'll be a no, then, yeah? Right.
It looks like this is about to become a removal job,
and just as they start making the calls,
a third man arrives in the office.
-Hello, my friend.
-I don't want no camera in here.
You've got to get out.
-No, no, no.
-We're here for the, erm...
I don't want no camera in my face, mate, so get out, please.
Although it's not clear who he is,
one thing that is certain is he's not pleased to see us.
He tells the cameraman to leave, but then follows him to the road
and unleashes an extraordinary tirade of abuse.
-Listen, yeah? You dirty
You feel me?
-I'll smack your head all over the floor, you white
Have that for the BBC.
Feel me? You know what?
Pleased with himself, he heads back to the hut
and, shortly afterwards, drives off...
Out my way, mate!
..but not without once again making known his feelings
towards the camera.
Don't film me, mate.
And he's not done yet -
ten minutes later, the same man is back,
this time with a friend in tow, and armed.
All right, all right... Lads...
-That man got egged!
The men run off, still hurling abuse.
Yeah, you're on camera, mate!
MAN YELLS INDISTINCTLY
As they leave, one throws a rock.
-Come on, then, you
What connection, if any, they have to the dealership is unclear,
and the salesman left behind takes a very different approach.
Are you OK?
Tommy, meanwhile, is unfazed.
We've just been attacked with eggs,
and they're trying to film it and stuff, so just...
They look like young lads being idiots,
but we're going to get the police here now, cos assault's happened.
Are you all right? It's just that they've ran off.
-They jumped our cameraman, basically...
..smashed eggs on him, started throwing rocks at him.
-A rock just skimmed his head.
-And we got you... Obviously, we called you guys.
After speaking to our cameraman, the police head into the cabin.
Craig, meanwhile, has made some progress -
a friend of the director arrived during the disturbance on the road.
He's now leaving, but it seems he wants to get the debt paid.
As we speak now, the money's on its way.
We'll be about another half an hour,
so we're just getting the receipt ready,
so, as soon as it turns up, we can count it and be on our way.
Satisfied the situation has calmed down, the police leave,
and soon word comes through that the money is ready for collection.
Oh, look, he's got an envelope.
Have we got it?
-There we go. Have you got the money?
-No money at all?
-Well, where did you go?
The man has returned empty-handed.
That's wasting our time, now - it's as simple as that.
He said he was going to get the money.
Quite what has caused the apparent change of heart isn't clear,
but Craig no longer cares,
and once again gets the director on the phone.
Your man's come back without the money,
so my office has just told us to start removing the vehicles now.
There's six vehicles to have away.
No problem, then, sir. Thanks a lot. Bye-bye.
"Do so as you wish," he said, so that's fine by me.
All right, then, Tommy-boy, let's get these cars done now, shall we?
Later, the job goes right up to the wire,
as the company makes more promises of payment.
Here we go. He's back.
Is it...? Have you got the cash now, then?
Let's have a look at it.
Cases the sheriffs take on come in all shapes and sizes.
Debts start at £600, but can reach well into the millions,
and the debtors are anything from one man and his dog
to huge corporations.
For enforcement agent Ken Warby, today's first job is the latter.
Well, this morning, we are off to a company called Procter & Gamble -
huge company, soaps and toothpastes and suchlike,
distributing to many of the big superstores.
To be specific, Ken's writ is for a division of the corporation
called Procter & Gamble Product Supply UK Limited,
which owes a man £3,108 in legal costs...
..but Ken's not fazed by the company's stature.
I prefer the bigger companies, actually.
Yeah. They look after you. Usually got...
They usually offer you a cup of tea.
But as Ken approaches his destination,
it becomes clear it's not what he was expecting.
I think we're going in the right direction.
His SatNav has led him to a sprawling industrial site.
Look at the size of these buildings! There's tonnes of them.
They all seem to be Procter & Gamble,
and Ken's got no idea where he's going.
There's no signs up or anything.
Where would the office be?
Eventually, he's directed to a car park outside a chemical plant.
It looks like Cape Canaveral.
What kind of assets he could possibly remove from
a place like this isn't clear.
Still, he tracks down reception and heads in,
but before he can utter a word...
Erm... No, sir. Can you turn that off?
..our cameraman's asked to leave.
Inside, Ken begins the task of retrieving the claimant's money.
He knows all too well that turning up unannounced at the doors
of huge companies often causes confusion.
Half the battle is usually finding someone on site who knows
about the debt or has the authorisation to make a payment.
This time, Ken gets lucky, and the reception staff manage to
track someone down who knows about the case -
even better, they agree to pay it.
So far, so good -
only, it turns out not to be that simple.
Two hours after walking in, Ken comes back out empty-handed.
They've tried to make the payment by American Express.
Unfortunately, we don't take American Express,
and they are the only cards that they've got on the premises.
So we've had to wait around for the office to contact their head office,
that isn't here, to make a bank transfer or an alternative card.
Hopefully they'll do it.
Ken's hardly worried about the company's ability to pay.
Although the name on his writ is for one of its UK subsidiaries,
Procter & Gamble is an American multinational giant,
with a turnover running into many billions of pounds,
but, after being here two hours, Ken would rather not have to wait
much longer for payment, and he doesn't have to.
The head office have been able to access another card,
not an Amex card, and the payment's gone through.
It all went smoothly, really. I didn't have to raise my voice.
They knew from the off that they owed the money.
And that means Ken never had to seriously consider removing
assets from the chemical plant, although he did threaten it.
I told them my intentions were to list items and have them removed.
It's not going to happen for a small debt
for a company of this size.
If it was, it would end up a right soap story. Excuse the pun.
Back in the West Midlands, we've been pelted with eggs...
..by two young men whose connection to the garage is unclear.
Don't film me, mate!
Meanwhile, the boss finally agreed to pay, before his courier
turned up without the cash.
-No money at all?
Enough is enough.
And the sheriffs have now ordered low loaders to come and remove
a total of six cars from the yard.
Tommy parks the van in the entrance to prevent anyone from trying to
shut the gates.
As he does so, he spots a car waiting in the street outside.
-I think them lads are back here.
-In that car, are they?
I think that's them, yeah.
It's not clear who's in the car or what, if anything, they plan to do.
Either way, it is clear the tension of this job is getting to everyone.
No money has arrived and it's cold. Freezing.
I need to go home, I need to lie down.
But after another chat with his boss, the man says they're
struggling to raise the money and comes forward with an offer.
-Yes, my friend?
Is there no possibility at all you can take half the money now
and take the other half on a bank transfer or something?
I can't help you, my friend.
After four tense hours here, the car outside, at least, is gone
without any further mischief.
The prospect of vehicles being imminently removed is definitely
-making the company's attempts to raise the cash more urgent.
The problem is, now that six low loaders are on the way,
they'll have to pay for those too.
-250 plus the VAT times six.
-1,800 quid, isn't it?
-Yeah. Just coming up 1,800 quid.
Craig is no longer interested in promises, only payment.
As far as he's concerned, it's just a case of waiting to see
which turns up first, the removal trucks or the money.
Here we go, he's back.
It's the staff member who was sent for the money the last time
but came back empty-handed.
What's going to happen now?
Is it... Have you got the cash there now? How much have you got?
-Let's have a look at it.
He says he's come back with £300 more than the sheriffs asked for at
the beginning of the day.
But that's now not enough, because of the extra fees.
Craig calls his office.
Lawrence, there's a whole bundle of cash here now, which is 8,900 quid.
How much do we need to call this all to a halt?
According to Lawrence, so far only one removal truck has
actually set off, so they'll settle for just one cancellation fee.
Yeah, cheers, mate. Ta-ra, goodbye.
Which means, provided the cash adds up, this job might finally be over.
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13...
All looking good so far.
The gentleman has paid, at the moment, £8,900.
And with the contents of the salesman's pocket...
-I've got 70 as well.
-Thank you, my friend.
..they've come up with enough to satisfy the writ and the sheriffs.
The tow trucks are called off, Craig finishes writing out the receipt
he started two hours ago and Tommy gives back their keys and paperwork.
They've earned these back now.
Take care of yourself. Yeah, sorry about any misunderstanding.
-No, it's fine.
-Sorry about the... I do apologise
-and have a safe journey home.
-Yeah, and you, you take care of yourself, mate.
It's taken all day, but with the job finally in the bag,
the sheriffs are all smiles.
It ended up being exactly what we wanted in the end.
The debtor company later appealed the judgment against them
but a judge rejected their case
and Louise was finally given back her money.
If the sheriffs were here now, I'd give them all a big hug and a
kiss because they've done an amazing job.
I never thought anyone would be able to get the money,
it's just fantastic news.
And it didn't end there.
Trading Standards subsequently prosecuted the business for
misdescribing the Fiesta in their advert and for selling Louise
a dangerous and unroadworthy vehicle.
They were fined a total of £7,500.
The best outcome was that the car had a destruction order on it
and therefore that car will never get back on the road.
For Louise, it's the end of a long ordeal.
I'm absolutely relieved, and now it's over, yes,
maybe I can start to relax and look forward to
one day buying a new car when I feel more confident about doing so.