Episode 1 The Sheriffs Are Coming


Episode 1

Series following high court enforcement officers. Sheriffs are pelted with eggs and rocks as they go in search of the money owed by a second-hand car dealer.


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Transcript


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-Meet the sheriffs.

-My name's Mr Grix, my colleague and I are enforcement agents.

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-It's to do with a High Court order.

-They work for the High Court,

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and if it says you're owed money,

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it's their job to go and get it.

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I'm here for £6,072.18.

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They can demand payment on the spot...

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I'm here for the full balance.

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How are you going to pay it?

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..or remove assets instead.

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The car will be going, unless you can pay it.

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You'll have a week to pay in full before it gets sold at auction.

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Obstructing their work can be a criminal offence.

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-I wouldn't do that if I was you.

-The door needs to stay open.

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Every year in England and Wales, unpaid debts totalling more

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than £80 million are recovered by the sheriffs.

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Coming up...

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Louise Alderson thought she'd bought herself the perfect second-hand car,

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but it was a deathtrap.

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The back wheels were only holding on by one wheel nut,

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the side impact bars weren't there. I am lucky to be alive.

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But when the sheriffs visit the dealer, it all kicks off.

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A budding property developer's lost out

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after squatters took over his building.

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We have subsidised the squatters by approximately £20,000.

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When the sheriffs try to evict them,

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they get more than they bargained for.

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Didn't see all that, did you?

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At a demolition company, Lawrence eyes up some seriously heavy goods.

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We've been sent to this address today, sir, to take control

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of goods, which at the moment is the excavators and the crusher.

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Ken's got a writ for a multinational giant.

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Look at the size of these buildings! It looks like Cape Canaveral.

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The sheriffs' success is often down to their ability to take

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control of the debtor's goods to use as leverage until they get paid,

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but debtors often claim their assets belong to someone else.

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The sheriffs won't take that at face value,

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and will always do what they can to get to the truth.

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Today, in the West Midlands, Tommy Coyle and Craig Wild's

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investigative skills are about to be tested.

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We're going back to a job where... We've been to before.

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It's a car pound.

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When we went before, we left notification of our attendance.

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They haven't responded to our paperwork,

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so we're back here again.

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The debtor deals in second-hand cars, and the claimant in the case

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is Louise Alderson, a teacher who came across

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the company when she was looking for a new car to get her to work.

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My old car had done quite a lot of mileage, and it was getting to

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the point where it probably needed a lot of repair work.

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I was looking for another Ford Fiesta.

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And when I spotted a lovely car advertised in Auto Trader,

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it looked really sporty and really attractive.

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And I'd just got married

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and my husband said, "Yeah, spoil yourself."

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So Louise went to have a look...

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and was initially underwhelmed by the dealership.

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My first impression was that, actually,

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this isn't what I was expecting.

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It was in the middle of an industrial estate,

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there was a tip nearby, and it didn't have a proper office.

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So I was immediately put off by that, but then when I saw the car

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and saw how lovely it was, and the man,

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the sales guy I spoke to, he came across as very friendly and

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very genuine, very honest, so that changed my mind.

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The Fiesta was £6,000,

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reduced to £5,000 with the part exchange of her old car.

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She took out a loan to pay for it, and drove it away.

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But it wasn't long before she experienced

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the first sign of trouble.

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About ten miles, maybe 15 miles away, on the way home,

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the engine warning light came on.

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So I pulled over, phoned them up and said this is what's happened,

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and he basically said, "Turn the engine off and turn it back

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"on again, and I assure you it won't come back on." And it didn't.

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But when the same thing happened the following day,

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Louise was very worried and so she took the car to a Ford specialist

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to check it over.

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They discovered the truth about Louise's new car -

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it had been badly repaired after an accident

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and it had some serious problems.

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The welding had been done incorrectly,

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the brake pipe was severely bent.

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The fan... The wiring for the brakes was actually hanging into the fan,

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and all of the electrics, most of them,

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had been disconnected, so it didn't even have air conditioning.

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It was a shock.

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A, I was very emotionally upset, and B,

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I'd just spent the money, couldn't afford, needed a car for

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work and was thinking, "What on earth am I going to do?"

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What she did was get straight on the phone to the dealers.

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They told me that the actual owner was away...abroad at the time.

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And we'd have to wait until the following Monday until he was back.

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That Monday came and went, no call. I phoned them.

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They still said, "Oh, no, he's still not here, you'll have to wait."

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And it was a continuum of that,

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my husband tried to ring them and speak to them as well.

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However, they just kept fobbing me off.

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Frustrated, Louise called Trading Standards.

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They sent out an independent vehicle inspector, who found even more

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problems with the car.

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The back wheels were only holding on by one wheel nut.

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He found there had been other damage,

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the side impact bars weren't there.

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He actually said I was very lucky to be alive.

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And that's how I do feel, that I am lucky to be alive.

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Yet even with this damning verdict on the car's dangerous condition,

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the garage still wouldn't commit to giving her a refund.

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It was just a continuum of, "Where's the car, we want the car,

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"meet the car, we'll send somebody out to get the car."

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But never at any point promising to actually pay for it

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at the same time as well.

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And my husband and I had decided that the one thing that we were

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adamant about not happening was for that car to go back on the road.

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So, Louise pursued the dealership through the County Courts.

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They didn't defend the case, and she was awarded a default judgment,

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requiring the company to pay her back, plus costs.

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They didn't, and now Louise has turned to the sheriffs as

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a last resort.

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The whole thing has been such an ordeal,

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I've had sleepless nights, I've been ill through it.

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All I can hope is that the sheriffs can get some money back for

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this for me, because if they can't do it, nobody can.

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The last time the sheriffs visited the dealership,

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they found a large lot full of vehicles,

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but it was locked up and no-one was around,

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so all they could do was leave a letter.

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Today, they're back, and things look a lot more promising.

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-It's open.

-Are you ready?

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Again, there are plenty of cars in the yard,

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and this time the sheriffs have no problem finding someone to speak to.

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Is the boss about?

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-He's not here at the moment, mate.

-Can he be contacted?

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We need to get him on the phone, basically.

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They don't seem surprised to see the sheriffs,

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and manage to get the company director on the phone.

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Hello, sir.

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It's to do with the High Court writ that's been issued against

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the company for £8,627.07, as it stands at the moment.

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Obviously they've sent us out, they've sent us out to execute this court writ today.

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And it sounds like he's making all the noises Craig likes to hear.

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Right. Brilliant.

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-Lovely.

-Sounds positive.

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It seems that it could be... he's just sorting it out.

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Maybe he got the letter before. So, it could be getting sorted.

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Actually, the situation isn't quite as straightforward

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as Tommy is hoping.

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The director doesn't want to pay,

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and says the sheriffs can't touch the cars here.

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He's saying that all the stock belongs to another limited company,

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and they're supplying us now more documentation for the cars here.

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In other words, none of the assets here belong to the debtor.

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If so, then the sheriffs will more than likely have to leave

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empty-handed, but they're not going to just take his word for it.

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So what we need to do, we'll just make a list now.

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-If we can tick them off.

-OK.

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There may be dozens of cars here, but the sheriffs plan to

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check every single one against the paperwork the director provides.

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So they start noting the registration numbers of the cars.

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DY09.

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FG56.

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FG56.

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WP07.

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It's like a maze getting through here, a maze of cars.

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It's going to take some time, but as they only need to find a few

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decent cars belonging to the debtor company, it might be worth it.

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Just when they're getting stuck in,

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Craig's interrupted by a phone call from his office.

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The director has sent in some paperwork as promised,

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but all it does is convince the sheriffs they're on the right track.

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We've had an e-mail in straight away from the director, but they only

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list two cars, which I don't think are even here, to be fair.

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Meanwhile, perhaps unsure themselves of what stock is here,

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the employees are making a list of their own.

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They're taking their own lists.

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If they can supply the evidence that it was bought and paid for by

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a third-party company, rather than our company,

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then we'll be satisfied with that and then we'll walk away.

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If they can't supply that,

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then clearly we'll take it to the next level.

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Later, tempers flare as the sheriffs up the ante.

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LAUGHTER

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Mind that egg.

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Your cameraman!

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If this balance isn't paid,

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then we're instructed to remove these vehicles.

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Using the County Courts to try to recover money you're owed

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isn't difficult.

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1.5 million money claims are made every year in England and Wales,

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involving anything from faulty goods or poor workmanship

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to unpaid invoices.

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Claims can be filed by post or online for a small fee.

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Both parties in the case will be asked to submit evidence,

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and you may have to attend a court hearing.

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If you're successful,

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a County Court Judgment, or CCJ, will be issued against the debtor,

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and if they still don't pay, that's when you call the sheriffs.

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Enforcing a writ often requires the sheriffs to draw on all

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their powers of persuasion and negotiation, but these tactics

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work best when the debtor is willing to engage in a meaningful dialogue.

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Sometimes debtors simply don't want to play ball.

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In the south-east today, sheriffs Laurence Grix and Kev McNally

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are about to demonstrate that it's sheer persistence

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that pays off.

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This morning we are on our way to Pyecombe in West Sussex,

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just outside Brighton.

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We're going to see Wealden Haulage & Demolition Limited,

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and this debt is relating to...

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tipper hire charges, crushed concrete haulage and muck away.

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In other words, waste disposal services

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supplied by another company, who haven't been paid.

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Wealden Haulage & Demolition Limited were taken to court

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and didn't offer a defence,

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so judgment was entered by default.

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Three months later and they still haven't paid,

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but the sheriffs are hoping to finally make sure they do.

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They owe a total of £16,335.

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They actually operate off a farm, so we're going to go there.

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As they turn in to the address,

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they immediately set eyes on a haulage truck.

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This is the right place, isn't it?

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They head past the farm shop and up the track towards a house.

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Hello. Hello, you two. Hello.

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-Morning, sir.

-Hello.

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I'm looking for Wealden Haulage & Demolition Limited.

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-That's me.

-That's you.

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It's Markus Saich, the company director.

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We have a High Court writ to execute against

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Wealden Haulage & Demolition.

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-The amount outstanding today is £16,335.99.

-Right.

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We're ordered out to take control of

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goods to that value to clear the debt...

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-Right.

-..and the only way to prevent further action is to pay in full.

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Yeah, but I've applied to the court to have that set aside,

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and I'm waiting to hear back, so...

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-Right. An application doesn't stop enforcement, sir.

-I've...

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-I've been told it does.

-By a solicitor?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah? No, it doesn't.

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Is this your private residence or is the business actually run from here?

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-The business is run from down there. This is my private residence.

-Right.

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I'm assuming you don't want goods removed.

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No, I don't know what goods you ARE going to remove,

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cos there isn't anything here that isn't on HP.

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But before Lawrence can probe for details, Mr Saich simply walks off.

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It's a bizarre turn of events, but Lawrence isn't fazed.

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I'm just going to make a note of some registrations

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and then we'll go down to where the business is run from,

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because we're more likely to find some assets down there,

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I would think.

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The sheriffs get in the van, and drive back to the farm shop

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where it looked like Mr Saich was headed.

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As they approach, Kevin thinks he spots movement inside.

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-He's in there.

-What, in the shop?

-Yeah.

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-Is that where he is, is he?

-Yeah.

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But any hopes that they may have found Mr Saich soon evaporate.

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No, it's shut.

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The farm shop is locked, and there's no sign of anyone inside.

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There was someone in there, 100%,

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and there's no-one else around, is there?

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No. They might be in an office at the back or something.

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Lawrence has a nose around, but there's no other way in,

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and still no sign of Mr Saich.

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Their best option now to get the debt paid is to identify some

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company assets, which on paper should be straightforward.

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They've got fixed assets of 674 grand,

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or they did have in November 15,

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so they've got a hell of a lot of assets.

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The problem is, not many of them seem to be here.

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We've got four-by-fours and things outside the house,

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which he's turned round and said are all on finance,

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but whether they belong to the company or not...

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There's also this tipper...

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That truck's what we'd need, really.

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..but it's massive.

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-We can't clamp it, can we?

-No. Definitely.

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I don't think there is a clamp on the market that will

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get on the wheel of one of those,

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cos that would have to go on an articulated low loader,

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or possibly be dragged,

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but if you're going to drag it,

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you've got to take all the driveshafts out.

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It's a pig of a job.

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It's too much for now,

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and, importantly, if the debtor's appeal is successful,

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the sheriffs wouldn't be able to recover the costs.

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So, with no assets, and Mr Saich unwilling to cooperate,

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this time the sheriffs will have to call it quits, for now.

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But we'll check out all the vehicle registrations,

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and if any of them do come back to the company

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and they're clear of finance, we can come back and take them.

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So, at the moment, I'm just going to leave paperwork, and that's that.

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Later, the saga continues, when the sheriffs

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pay Wealden Haulage & Demolition another visit.

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It's 6am in Brixton, south London.

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All right, I'll give out a couple of copies of the writ.

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Under the cover of darkness,

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the sheriffs are quietly preparing to carry out an eviction

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on a group of squatters.

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They've taken over a nearby commercial premises,

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and it's the job of team leader Mark King

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to take it back for the owner.

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The client has said there is potentially

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up to 15 people in there.

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We'll give them the opportunity to get their stuff together.

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If they don't, or they mess about or become aggressive or anything,

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they'll just be removed from the property.

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The building is owned by Julien Gressier.

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He works in the fashion industry,

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but, with a background in architecture,

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also has a sideline in small-scale property development.

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For me, it's about doing something that I like doing

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and trying to make a living,

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while creating homes which are desperately needed, you know,

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in the UK and in London.

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The property in question is a commercial building,

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which, until recently, was used to sell car parts.

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However, shortly after buying it at auction,

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Julien was informed that squatters had moved in.

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As the building had been empty for a few months,

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at first he was sympathetic, and went to speak to them.

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They were keen on some sort of deal whereby they stay in the place,

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look after it, and it wouldn't deteriorate any further.

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To some extent, we were probably open to discussion,

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but I think came a point where we fairly quickly realised

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that they were taking the mickey, if you can use that!

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The squatters are preventing access to the building

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which Julien needs to progress the works,

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and because he was unable to persuade them to leave,

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he's embarking on the legal process of getting them removed.

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We are paying, every month.

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Business rates are probably about £3,000 a month.

0:17:400:17:43

So, overall...

0:17:430:17:47

we have subsidised the squatters by approximately £20,000.

0:17:470:17:51

Julien has now obtained a writ of possession from the courts,

0:17:530:17:56

which means he can legally evict the squatters.

0:17:560:17:59

It's now down to the sheriffs to finish the job.

0:17:590:18:03

Julien's sure that one way or another,

0:18:030:18:05

he'll get the property back,

0:18:050:18:07

but he's worried about what state it might be in.

0:18:070:18:10

The squatters have now been in the property for nearly a month,

0:18:100:18:13

a month and a half, maybe nearly two months?

0:18:130:18:16

We have been told by neighbours

0:18:160:18:18

that there are approximately 30 people in there,

0:18:180:18:21

dogs as well, so we don't know how bad it's going to be.

0:18:210:18:24

While the squatters are asleep,

0:18:270:18:29

the sheriffs are getting ready to make their move.

0:18:290:18:31

Team leader Mark King is no stranger to the tricks

0:18:310:18:34

squatters can employ to keep the authorities out,

0:18:340:18:37

so he's doing a recce with locksmith Andy

0:18:370:18:40

to find out what they might be up against,

0:18:400:18:43

and it doesn't look good.

0:18:430:18:45

Just had a look, all the shutters around the front and the side

0:18:450:18:48

are padlocked or locked up.

0:18:480:18:50

Don't look like they're being used.

0:18:500:18:52

There are two doors which are both locked,

0:18:520:18:56

but they're barricaded on the inside.

0:18:560:18:58

Barricaded doors are bad news for the sheriffs.

0:19:030:19:06

They want to gain access quickly and quietly

0:19:060:19:09

before the squatters are awake and can cause any trouble.

0:19:090:19:12

So Mark needs to choose which of the doors

0:19:120:19:14

he thinks will be the easiest for the team to force open.

0:19:140:19:18

Just get the door open.

0:19:180:19:20

He opts for one which he thinks the squatters might be using

0:19:200:19:23

to go in and out themselves, and gives the go-ahead.

0:19:230:19:27

Knock it in.

0:19:270:19:28

The door is putting up a fight, but persistence pays off.

0:19:290:19:33

And with a bit of elbow grease, the sheriffs manage to prise it open.

0:19:330:19:37

All right. Hold on, hold on.

0:19:380:19:41

What's behind it, though, is going to be much more of a problem.

0:19:410:19:45

That ain't the way they're coming in, then.

0:19:450:19:47

The doorway's thoroughly barricaded.

0:19:470:19:49

The sheriffs throw everything at it they can.

0:19:510:19:54

Someone else give it a go.

0:19:570:19:58

But they've lost the element of surprise,

0:20:000:20:03

so Mark might as well appeal to the squatters directly.

0:20:030:20:06

Right, listen, fellas.

0:20:060:20:07

We're enforcement officers with a High Court writ.

0:20:070:20:10

We're coming in. You need to start packing up your stuff, yeah?

0:20:100:20:14

What the sheriffs don't want is to give the squatters enough time

0:20:150:20:18

to create any more obstacles...

0:20:180:20:20

..especially as the heavily-fortified barricade

0:20:220:20:25

they're already up against isn't showing any signs of budging.

0:20:250:20:29

Keep going at that one.

0:20:290:20:30

Mark can't afford to waste any more time,

0:20:320:20:35

so turns his attention to the shutters instead.

0:20:350:20:38

That doesn't prove to be much easier, but eventually,

0:20:400:20:43

they manage to force a gap just wide enough to squeeze through.

0:20:430:20:47

-All right, we're in, we're in.

-Go, go, go.

0:20:470:20:50

Once inside, they set about waking everyone up and moving them out.

0:20:520:20:56

Right, you need to pack your stuff straightaway.

0:20:580:21:00

You've got ten minutes.

0:21:000:21:01

All right, fella, get your stuff packed up.

0:21:010:21:04

You need to leave, yeah?

0:21:040:21:06

Half-asleep squatters aren't the easiest to get motivated.

0:21:070:21:10

And it's not only people that need to leave.

0:21:130:21:16

We've got dogs, yeah.

0:21:160:21:17

-Yeah, three upstairs.

-All right. OK.

0:21:170:21:19

As the squatters slowly start to get their possessions together,

0:21:210:21:24

Mark reviews his tactical entry.

0:21:240:21:26

We chose the wrong door, really, didn't we?!

0:21:280:21:30

But you can't, you can't tell until you get inside.

0:21:300:21:35

I mean, we would have got through that eventually.

0:21:350:21:38

Either way, they're in,

0:21:390:21:41

and it seems like the squatters accept the game's up.

0:21:410:21:44

They were throwing stuff against the door first off,

0:21:440:21:47

but once we were in, they're just packing up, aren't they?

0:21:470:21:51

Because they know what's happening.

0:21:510:21:52

The sheriffs' priority now

0:21:550:21:57

is to try to get the squatters to remove as many of their possessions

0:21:570:22:00

as possible, preferably quickly.

0:22:000:22:03

Well, ideally...

0:22:030:22:05

..we don't want them to be here too long,

0:22:060:22:08

because the longer we're here, the more it's costing the client, but...

0:22:080:22:13

..on the other hand, we want them to take their possessions,

0:22:150:22:18

because if they've got their stuff,

0:22:180:22:20

then they're not going to want to get back in here.

0:22:200:22:23

DOG BARKS

0:22:230:22:26

And this group certainly has a lot of stuff.

0:22:260:22:28

While the squatters' possessions pile up on the pavement outside,

0:22:310:22:35

Mark has a look around the premises.

0:22:350:22:37

He's seen worse, but like many squatted properties,

0:22:370:22:40

it's been left in a bit of a state.

0:22:400:22:42

One of their bedrooms,

0:22:440:22:45

which is probably some old office or something.

0:22:450:22:49

Normally, they take their mattresses with them,

0:22:490:22:51

but they've not bothered this time.

0:22:510:22:54

So far, things are all going smoothly enough.

0:22:540:22:57

Just when it looks like this eviction

0:22:570:22:59

might pass without incident,

0:22:590:23:01

the mood starts to change.

0:23:010:23:03

Just come and go, get your stuff, if you carry on, listen,

0:23:040:23:06

if you carry on playing up, yeah,

0:23:060:23:08

it's going to affect other people getting their stuff, OK?

0:23:080:23:10

Come and get your stuff as you need to, and that's it.

0:23:100:23:13

Another of the squatters isn't keen on having their 15 minutes of fame,

0:23:130:23:17

and is obstructing our cameraman.

0:23:170:23:19

-Just leave her alone.

-No, I'm in the street, you're not police,

0:23:190:23:22

you do your job, this is a public highway.

0:23:220:23:24

Yeah, it's a public highway.

0:23:240:23:26

When the sheriffs step in, tempers flare.

0:23:260:23:29

Don't touch me, not in a public place, don't touch me.

0:23:290:23:32

I'm not touching anything.

0:23:320:23:33

Not touching anything.

0:23:330:23:35

Hey, hey, hey, hey!

0:23:350:23:37

Look, just calm down, fellas.

0:23:370:23:40

-Do you want to get arrested?

-Why?

0:23:400:23:42

Do you want to get arrested?

0:23:420:23:43

-We're in the street.

-Well then, stop.

0:23:430:23:45

You're going to make things worse for everyone else out here.

0:23:450:23:48

The squatters are becoming more and more agitated.

0:23:480:23:51

The situation is starting to turn ugly.

0:23:510:23:54

Watch me! Hey, hey, hey!

0:23:550:23:56

Try and burn me again with it, and I will chuck it.

0:23:560:23:59

-No.

-You don't... You are grabbing me.

0:23:590:24:02

You just tried to burn me with your cigarette.

0:24:020:24:03

Don't grab me. This woman is grabbing me.

0:24:030:24:06

I'm not doing anything.

0:24:060:24:07

No-one else to go back in now.

0:24:080:24:10

No-one goes in now, Rupert.

0:24:100:24:11

What?

0:24:110:24:13

Take a step back.

0:24:130:24:14

-What?

-Take a step back, take a step back.

0:24:140:24:16

No-one's going back in there cos she's messing about.

0:24:160:24:19

For the sheriffs, enough is enough.

0:24:190:24:21

With some of the squatters getting aggressive,

0:24:210:24:24

the decision is taken not to let any of them back inside.

0:24:240:24:28

So whatever possessions are still in the building will have to be left behind.

0:24:280:24:32

So it's now all the more important the building's well and truly secured,

0:24:320:24:36

so they don't break back in later.

0:24:360:24:38

Locksmith Andy's already on the case,

0:24:400:24:42

and there is at least one door where the job's been done for him.

0:24:420:24:46

Yeah, a bit of barricading from the front.

0:24:460:24:49

So I don't think Andy will do anything with that,

0:24:490:24:51

because it's as good as it's going to be.

0:24:510:24:53

As the new locks go on, the squatters start to disperse.

0:24:550:24:59

But just as it appears that the tensions have been defused,

0:24:590:25:02

one man who was causing trouble earlier comes back for more...

0:25:020:25:06

A MAN SHOUTS

0:25:060:25:07

..kicking our cameraman in the shins as a parting shot.

0:25:070:25:11

We don't care. You're not welcome.

0:25:110:25:13

He's just doing his job. Leave him alone.

0:25:130:25:15

That's the last we see of him, though,

0:25:150:25:18

and as the final stragglers head on their way,

0:25:180:25:20

the sheriffs' work is done.

0:25:200:25:22

All the locks have been changed.

0:25:220:25:25

All the padlocks, exterior locks, door locks, everything.

0:25:250:25:29

The property's secure.

0:25:290:25:30

Um...

0:25:300:25:32

just got to sign vacant possession to the client,

0:25:320:25:35

and then it's time for breakfast.

0:25:350:25:37

The property is now back in the hands of the owner,

0:25:400:25:43

and, a few weeks later, we're catching up with him.

0:25:430:25:46

Julien says the damage turned out to be far worse

0:25:460:25:49

than he had feared.

0:25:490:25:51

You had the alarm system that they ripped out...

0:25:530:25:56

..you had the copper pipes, which were pretty much running all across,

0:25:570:26:01

that they nicked.

0:26:010:26:03

You know, chopped them off, sold for scrap, I guess.

0:26:030:26:06

The worst was actually all the rubbish that we had to get rid of.

0:26:060:26:10

That was probably about £3,000 to get rid of it.

0:26:100:26:14

But with the clear-up complete, the space is now usable once more.

0:26:160:26:20

Julien is relieved to have his project back on track.

0:26:200:26:24

I'm really happy I got the place back.

0:26:240:26:26

It was pretty much two months of delay,

0:26:260:26:30

but it's now behind us.

0:26:300:26:33

I have to thank the sheriffs very much

0:26:330:26:35

for their...for their help.

0:26:350:26:37

And giving us the space back, really.

0:26:370:26:40

Tommy and Craig are at a used-car dealer's in the West Midlands

0:26:490:26:53

which owes just over £8,500 to Louise Alderson.

0:26:530:26:57

She bought a car from them which was too dangerous to drive.

0:26:570:27:01

The boss of the business claims all the cars on the forecourt

0:27:010:27:04

today belong to another company.

0:27:040:27:06

But he's not here, and so far has e-mailed through paperwork for just two of them.

0:27:060:27:12

Now Craig's office have rung to say he's sent two more.

0:27:120:27:15

So he's supplied those four. But no others yet.

0:27:150:27:20

So those four are obviously exempt.

0:27:200:27:23

Sheriffs are entitled to do a diligent search of

0:27:230:27:26

a debtor's premises.

0:27:260:27:27

While they wait for the paperwork to trickle in, Craig has a look

0:27:270:27:30

through the filing cabinet to see if he can speed the process up.

0:27:300:27:34

The first thing he finds is a sales ledger.

0:27:340:27:38

The Renault Megane, right there - £2,560.

0:27:380:27:42

Good price...

0:27:420:27:44

for you.

0:27:440:27:45

MAN LAUGHS

0:27:450:27:47

It's not long before he discovers some more interesting information -

0:27:470:27:51

logbooks and sales invoices.

0:27:510:27:54

One immediately catches his attention.

0:27:540:27:57

This document here says "purchased from the third-party company",

0:27:570:28:01

and this is for a Subaru that's outside,

0:28:010:28:03

but it's only an '02 plate, and we're after 8,000 quid.

0:28:030:28:07

There's some of these other vehicles as well.

0:28:070:28:10

The document shows that one of the cars outside was bought FROM

0:28:100:28:14

the very company the sheriffs were told owns everything here.

0:28:140:28:18

Something isn't stacking up.

0:28:180:28:20

Before long, Craig's identified a number of other vehicles too,

0:28:230:28:27

and the sheriffs step outside the cabin to confer in private.

0:28:270:28:31

-We've got an '09 Renault Clio. These are all here.

-Mm-hm.

0:28:310:28:35

The logbooks are in there and the keys are in there as well,

0:28:350:28:37

so the game might be up soon.

0:28:370:28:39

Seize this paperwork, then, yeah? They ain't having it back.

0:28:390:28:42

Craig reckons if these vehicles don't belong to the other company,

0:28:420:28:45

and they're up for sale in the debtor's yard,

0:28:450:28:48

then they must belong to the debtor.

0:28:480:28:51

Confident they're onto a winner, Tommy takes all the keys and

0:28:510:28:54

documents he can from the cabin and locks them in his van.

0:28:540:28:57

Craig calls up the director and gets straight to the point.

0:28:590:29:03

My office have instructed me to let you know that, obviously,

0:29:030:29:06

if this balance isn't paid,

0:29:060:29:07

then we're instructed to remove these vehicles.

0:29:070:29:10

The director still claims the vehicles belong to someone else.

0:29:100:29:14

Sir, I'm not here to argue.

0:29:140:29:16

If you can't provide evidence -

0:29:160:29:17

further evidence, because we've got the evidence here -

0:29:170:29:20

these vehicles will be removed today.

0:29:200:29:22

Unless, of course, he's willing to pay.

0:29:220:29:25

OK, so the choice is yours.

0:29:250:29:27

The balance stands at £8,627.07.

0:29:270:29:31

I need an answer from you, and if you want to pay this bill or not.

0:29:310:29:34

That'll be a no, then, yeah? Right.

0:29:340:29:36

It looks like this is about to become a removal job,

0:29:360:29:39

and just as they start making the calls,

0:29:390:29:41

a third man arrives in the office.

0:29:410:29:45

-Hello, my friend.

-I don't want no camera in here.

0:29:450:29:47

You've got to get out.

0:29:470:29:48

-No, no, no.

-We're here for the, erm...

0:29:480:29:51

I don't want no camera in my face, mate, so get out, please.

0:29:510:29:54

Yeah, yeah...

0:29:540:29:55

Although it's not clear who he is,

0:29:550:29:57

one thing that is certain is he's not pleased to see us.

0:29:570:30:00

He tells the cameraman to leave, but then follows him to the road

0:30:000:30:04

and unleashes an extraordinary tirade of abuse.

0:30:040:30:08

-White

-BLEEP.

-Listen, yeah? You dirty

-BLEEP.

0:30:080:30:10

-You film me, I'll smack your head all over the floor, you white

-BLEEP.

0:30:100:30:14

BLEEP!

0:30:140:30:16

Have that for the BBC.

0:30:160:30:18

-BLEEP

-dirty

-BLEEP.

0:30:180:30:19

Film me? You know what?

0:30:190:30:21

-Dirty

-BLEEP!

0:30:210:30:22

Pleased with himself, he heads back to the hut

0:30:240:30:27

and, shortly afterwards, drives off...

0:30:270:30:30

Out my way, mate!

0:30:300:30:31

..but not without once again making known his feelings

0:30:310:30:34

towards the camera.

0:30:340:30:35

Don't film me, mate.

0:30:350:30:36

And he's not done yet -

0:30:380:30:39

ten minutes later, the same man is back,

0:30:390:30:41

this time with a friend in tow, and armed...

0:30:410:30:45

with eggs.

0:30:450:30:47

All right, all right... Lads...

0:30:510:30:52

-MEN LAUGH

-That man got egged!

0:30:520:30:54

The men run off, still hurling abuse.

0:30:540:30:57

Yeah, you're on camera, mate!

0:30:590:31:01

MAN YELLS INDISTINCTLY

0:31:010:31:02

As they leave, one throws a rock.

0:31:020:31:05

-Come on, then, you

-BLEEP!

0:31:050:31:07

What connection, if any, they have to the dealership is unclear,

0:31:070:31:11

and the salesman left behind takes a very different approach.

0:31:110:31:14

Are you OK?

0:31:140:31:16

Tommy, meanwhile, is unfazed.

0:31:160:31:18

We've just been attacked with eggs,

0:31:180:31:21

and they're trying to film it and stuff, so just...

0:31:210:31:24

They look like young lads being idiots,

0:31:240:31:26

but we're going to get the police here now, cos assault's happened.

0:31:260:31:29

It's a bit unfortunate, but part of the job.

0:31:290:31:32

The cameraman's coat's come off worse for wear,

0:31:320:31:34

but luckily no-one's hurt...

0:31:340:31:37

More of it's on your head, mate.

0:31:370:31:39

..and the men have vanished by the time the police arrive.

0:31:390:31:43

Are you all right? It's just that they've ran off.

0:31:430:31:45

-They jumped our cameraman, basically...

-OK.

0:31:450:31:47

..smashed eggs on him, started throwing rocks at him.

0:31:470:31:50

-A rock just skimmed his head.

-OK.

0:31:500:31:51

-And we got you... Obviously, we called you guys.

-All right.

0:31:510:31:55

After speaking to our cameraman, the police head into the cabin.

0:31:550:31:59

They're just going to make a bit of an investigation.

0:31:590:32:01

There was threats made of...that they were going to petrol-bomb us,

0:32:010:32:04

and that they were going to come back,

0:32:040:32:06

so obviously we have to take these things seriously,

0:32:060:32:08

especially the fact they were throwing rocks.

0:32:080:32:11

Craig, meanwhile, has made some progress -

0:32:110:32:14

a friend of the director arrived during the disturbance on the road.

0:32:140:32:17

He's now leaving, but it seems he wants to get the debt paid.

0:32:170:32:21

Luckily for us,

0:32:230:32:24

a friend arrived and managed to talk round the situation to him,

0:32:240:32:28

and it's more cost-effective to pay it now and challenge it later,

0:32:280:32:31

which is exactly what he's going to try and do,

0:32:310:32:33

so, as we speak now, the money's on its way.

0:32:330:32:36

We'll be about another half an hour,

0:32:360:32:38

so we're just getting the receipt ready,

0:32:380:32:40

so, as soon as it turns up, we can count it and be on our way.

0:32:400:32:43

Satisfied the situation has calmed down, the police leave,

0:32:450:32:49

and soon word comes through that the money is ready for collection.

0:32:490:32:54

One of the salesmen goes to pick it up.

0:32:540:32:57

When he returns 45 minutes later, the sheriffs are expectant.

0:32:570:33:02

Oh, look, he's got an envelope.

0:33:020:33:05

-Have we got it? Yeah?

-There we go.

0:33:050:33:08

Have you got the money?

0:33:080:33:10

-No money?

-No.

0:33:100:33:11

-No money at all?

-No, man.

0:33:110:33:13

-Well, where did you go?

-TOMMY LAUGHS

0:33:130:33:15

The man has returned empty-handed.

0:33:150:33:18

That's wasting our time, now - it's as simple as that.

0:33:180:33:22

He said he was going to get the money.

0:33:220:33:24

Quite what has caused the apparent change of heart isn't clear,

0:33:240:33:28

but Craig no longer cares,

0:33:280:33:29

and once again gets the director on the phone.

0:33:290:33:32

Your man's come back without the money,

0:33:320:33:34

so my office has just told us to start removing the vehicles now.

0:33:340:33:38

There's six vehicles to have away.

0:33:380:33:40

No problem, then, sir. Thanks a lot. Bye-bye.

0:33:400:33:43

Done now?

0:33:430:33:44

"Do so as you wish," he said, so that's fine by me.

0:33:440:33:48

All right, then, Tommy-boy, let's get these cars done now, shall we?

0:33:480:33:51

Later, the job goes right up to the wire,

0:33:530:33:56

as the company makes more promises of payment.

0:33:560:34:00

Here we go. He's back.

0:34:000:34:02

Is it...? Have you got the cash now, then?

0:34:020:34:04

Let's have a look at it.

0:34:040:34:05

Lawrence and Kev are back on the trail of a debt

0:34:140:34:16

owed by a company called Wealden Haulage & Demolition Ltd.

0:34:160:34:21

They previously visited the company's registered address,

0:34:210:34:23

-which was on a farm.

-This is the right place, isn't it?

0:34:230:34:26

But the director, Markus Saich, was far from helpful.

0:34:260:34:29

And the only real asset there wasn't going anywhere in a hurry.

0:34:310:34:35

That would have to go on an articulated low loader.

0:34:350:34:38

Or possibly be dragged.

0:34:380:34:41

Other vehicles seen at the site have now been confirmed as being

0:34:410:34:44

on finance, and further contact with Mr Saich hasn't come to much.

0:34:440:34:48

The director did contact me,

0:34:500:34:52

saying that there was an order from the court stopping enforcement.

0:34:520:34:56

But despite repeated requests, he hasn't provided that.

0:34:560:34:59

So as far as we're concerned, this writ is still live.

0:34:590:35:03

So far, they've had the doors shut in their face at every turn.

0:35:030:35:06

But the sheriffs don't give up easily,

0:35:060:35:08

and now they've got a new lead -

0:35:080:35:11

a tip-off of a site where Wealden might be operating.

0:35:110:35:14

So they're going there in the hope of collecting the £19,000 now owing.

0:35:140:35:18

On arrival, it appears to be

0:35:200:35:21

some kind of aggregate processing facility.

0:35:210:35:24

There aren't any signs mentioning the debtor company,

0:35:240:35:27

but Lawrence spots a man working on the site and tries his luck.

0:35:270:35:31

Morning.

0:35:310:35:32

Looking for Wealden Haulage & Demolition.

0:35:340:35:36

That's you.

0:35:380:35:39

My name's Mr Grix. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.

0:35:390:35:41

We've got a High Court writ against Wealden Haulage & Demolition.

0:35:410:35:44

We're ordered here today to take control of goods,

0:35:440:35:47

which by the looks of it is the excavator and the crusher.

0:35:470:35:50

Are you able to get him on the phone?

0:35:500:35:52

Thank you very much.

0:35:520:35:54

The man said it's the right place

0:35:540:35:56

and the machines they expected to see are here.

0:35:560:35:58

So far, so good.

0:35:580:36:00

Until Lawrence is handed the phone.

0:36:020:36:03

Good morning, sir.

0:36:050:36:06

Was it you I met at the other address, at your house?

0:36:070:36:10

It is indeed the company director, Markus Saich.

0:36:100:36:13

We've been sent to this address today, sir, to take control

0:36:130:36:16

of goods, which at the moment is the excavators and the crusher.

0:36:160:36:19

Once again, Lawrence is told everything is on finance.

0:36:190:36:23

Have you got paperwork to that effect?

0:36:230:36:25

Are you able to get that to us?

0:36:250:36:27

You're not.

0:36:270:36:28

Mr Saich says if Lawrence wants the paperwork, he can come and get it.

0:36:280:36:32

Right, well, I'm not coming there, sir, because I'm here,

0:36:320:36:35

and I'm going to be taking these goods into control.

0:36:350:36:38

I can't take them into control at your other premises, can I?

0:36:380:36:42

But not only is Mr Saich refusing to bring the documents

0:36:420:36:45

the sheriffs need to see, he's now once again claiming that

0:36:450:36:48

enforcement action has been stopped by the court.

0:36:480:36:51

Lawrence is sceptical.

0:36:510:36:53

You told me weeks ago, sir, there was

0:36:530:36:55

an order from the court stopping execution.

0:36:550:36:57

I've asked you repeatedly for that and you haven't provided it.

0:36:570:37:01

It hasn't been stopped until you find out what's going on.

0:37:010:37:05

I have a live writ.

0:37:050:37:06

OK, then, sir, call the police.

0:37:080:37:09

It would be far more helpful if you have... Oh, there you go.

0:37:090:37:12

Actually, it would be a good thing if the police turn up now.

0:37:130:37:16

That might prompt him to get down here,

0:37:160:37:18

and that would be better for us.

0:37:180:37:19

It's one of the ways in which we can progress this one at the moment.

0:37:190:37:23

Otherwise, Mr Saich's reluctance to cooperate is once again

0:37:230:37:27

leaving the sheriffs in a tricky position.

0:37:270:37:29

If the machinery really doesn't belong to Wealden Haulage

0:37:290:37:32

& Demolition Ltd, then removing it would be a very expensive mistake.

0:37:320:37:37

But it doesn't sound like the director's going to help them

0:37:370:37:40

put the ownership beyond doubt.

0:37:400:37:42

The director of the company doesn't really want to speak to us.

0:37:420:37:45

Whenever you get a job where you can't establish some

0:37:450:37:47

kind of sensible dialogue,

0:37:470:37:49

it's really awkward to get any kind of resolution, one way or the other.

0:37:490:37:53

If the vehicles are leased from somebody, just give us

0:37:530:37:55

the paperwork and we can go away!

0:37:550:37:57

As it is, the sheriffs will have to work it out for themselves,

0:37:570:38:00

so they head inside the yard for a closer look.

0:38:000:38:03

But as they do, the worker present asks our camera to leave

0:38:030:38:07

and shuts the gates behind him.

0:38:070:38:09

Seeing the chain go on, Lawrence gives the man a warning.

0:38:110:38:15

I know that obviously your boss is telling you to do things,

0:38:150:38:18

but I just have to advise you, from your point of view,

0:38:180:38:21

it is a criminal offence to obstruct us,

0:38:210:38:23

so I'm just advising you on a personal level,

0:38:230:38:25

because if you do anything... I wouldn't want you doing anything

0:38:250:38:29

that puts you personally in jeopardy

0:38:290:38:31

because you're following your boss's instructions.

0:38:310:38:34

The employee goes back to work while the sheriffs have a nose around.

0:38:340:38:39

However, their exploration of the site reveals

0:38:390:38:41

nothing besides the huge amounts of concrete,

0:38:410:38:44

and no further clues to the ownership of the machines.

0:38:440:38:48

There's a building next to the yard with another company's name

0:38:480:38:51

over the door, so Kev heads in to ask what, if anything,

0:38:510:38:54

they can tell the sheriffs about the crusher and the diggers.

0:38:540:38:58

He soon returns with news.

0:38:580:39:01

-That crusher's financed and it's owned by this lot.

-Yeah.

0:39:010:39:04

He got his boss on the phone and he was like,

0:39:040:39:05

"Yeah, no, no, it's definitely ours."

0:39:050:39:07

-And they've got no reason to...

-No.

0:39:070:39:09

Meanwhile, Lawrence has made a discovery of his own -

0:39:090:39:12

one of the two diggers has broken down on top of a pile of aggregate.

0:39:120:39:17

They began the day hoping to walk out of here with nearly £20,000,

0:39:170:39:21

but that now looks like a tall order.

0:39:210:39:23

# Don't know where we're going, got no way of knowing

0:39:230:39:27

# Driving on the road to nowhere. #

0:39:270:39:29

Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do

0:39:290:39:31

because the one digger is immobile with a knackered engine,

0:39:310:39:36

the crusher we've already confirmed belongs to somebody else

0:39:360:39:39

and the digger's in use, and we can't take

0:39:390:39:41

something into control if it's actually in use at the time.

0:39:410:39:44

And he's still adamant it's leased from somebody.

0:39:440:39:46

More than two hours after they arrived,

0:39:480:39:50

and with no sign of the police, Lawrence eventually gets

0:39:500:39:53

a call from the debtor's solicitor, who's only just been instructed.

0:39:530:39:57

They say they'll need a few days to collect the relevant paperwork.

0:39:570:40:01

Frustrated, but with no leverage to demand payment,

0:40:010:40:04

Lawrence has no choice but to agree.

0:40:040:40:06

If you're actually going to cooperate,

0:40:070:40:09

which I imagine you will, and deal with this in a sensible manner

0:40:090:40:12

rather than just being obstructive like your client,

0:40:120:40:14

I'll give you till close of business on Monday to get

0:40:140:40:16

the paperwork over, and then I'm quite happy to leave it.

0:40:160:40:19

Otherwise I will be back and I will remove it.

0:40:190:40:21

But the sheriffs never need to return.

0:40:210:40:24

Following filming, Wealden Haulage & Demolition Ltd paid

0:40:240:40:28

just over £19,000, clearing their debt in full.

0:40:280:40:32

The people who hadn't been paid have now got the money they were owed.

0:40:320:40:36

Back in the West Midlands, Tommy and Craig are still at the car dealer's.

0:40:490:40:54

They've been there for four hours hoping to collect more than

0:40:540:40:57

£8,500 on behalf of a customer,

0:40:570:41:00

Louise Alderson, who was sold a dangerous second-hand car.

0:41:000:41:04

It's been a very tense day.

0:41:050:41:07

We've been pelted with eggs...

0:41:090:41:10

MEN LAUGH

0:41:100:41:12

..and rocks...

0:41:120:41:14

..by two young men whose connection to the garage is unclear.

0:41:160:41:19

Don't film me, mate!

0:41:190:41:21

Meanwhile, the boss finally agreed to pay, before his courier

0:41:210:41:25

turned up without the cash.

0:41:250:41:27

-No money.

-No.

-No money at all?

0:41:270:41:30

So, the money hasn't arrived.

0:41:310:41:32

I spoke to my office, they're organising the transport now

0:41:320:41:35

and then we'll take it from there.

0:41:350:41:37

Tommy parks the van in the entrance to prevent anyone from trying to

0:41:390:41:42

shut the gates.

0:41:420:41:44

It's going to go to removal,

0:41:440:41:45

so we're looking to get the six cars gone.

0:41:450:41:47

The prospect of vehicles being imminently removed is definitely

0:41:480:41:52

-making the company's attempts to raise the cash more urgent.

-Hello?

0:41:520:41:55

The problem is, now that six low loaders are on the way,

0:41:550:41:58

they'll have to pay for those, too.

0:41:580:42:01

-250 plus the VAT times six.

-Six...

0:42:010:42:03

-1,800 quid, isn't it?

-Yeah. Just gone up 1,800 quid.

0:42:030:42:06

-How long has he got before...

-Done. The truck's on the way.

0:42:060:42:09

It's kind of too late, isn't it, now?

0:42:090:42:11

You had the chance over an hour ago.

0:42:110:42:12

What can you do?

0:42:140:42:16

They don't want to pay the extra fees,

0:42:200:42:22

and in an effort to get the removal called off,

0:42:220:42:25

again promise that someone's on the way with cash.

0:42:250:42:27

He's going to be back in 15 minutes maximum. Cancel it, yes?

0:42:290:42:32

-I can't cancel it.

-No, no... You have to.

0:42:320:42:35

I can't. How long have we been here?

0:42:350:42:37

-I know, I know, I know, I understand that.

-I ain't cancelling it.

0:42:370:42:39

I'm not cancelling it at all.

0:42:390:42:41

Craig is no longer interested in promises, only payment.

0:42:430:42:46

As far as he's concerned, it's just a case of waiting to see

0:42:460:42:50

which turns up first, the removal trucks or the money.

0:42:500:42:53

Here we go, he's back.

0:42:550:42:57

It's the staff member who was sent for the money the last time,

0:43:000:43:04

but came back empty-handed.

0:43:040:43:06

What's going to happen now?

0:43:060:43:07

Is it... Have you got the cash there now? How much have you got?

0:43:090:43:12

-Got £8,927.

-Let's have a look at it.

0:43:120:43:16

He says he's come back with £300 more than the sheriffs asked for

0:43:170:43:21

at the beginning of the day.

0:43:210:43:22

But that's now not enough, because of the extra fees.

0:43:220:43:25

Craig calls his office.

0:43:270:43:29

Lawrence, there's a whole bundle of cash here now, which is 8,900 quid.

0:43:290:43:35

How much do we need to call this all to a halt?

0:43:350:43:38

According to Lawrence, so far only one removal truck has

0:43:380:43:42

actually set off, so they'll settle for just one cancellation fee.

0:43:420:43:46

Yeah, cheers, mate. Ta-ra, goodbye.

0:43:470:43:48

Which means, provided the cash adds up, this job might finally be over.

0:43:490:43:54

44 twenties...

0:43:540:43:56

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13...

0:43:560:43:59

All looking good so far.

0:43:590:44:01

The gentleman has paid, at the moment, £8,900.

0:44:040:44:08

And with the contents of the salesman's pocket...

0:44:080:44:11

-I've got 70 as well.

-Thank you, my friend.

0:44:110:44:15

..they've come up with enough to satisfy the writ and the sheriffs.

0:44:150:44:19

It's taken all day, but with the job finally in the bag,

0:44:190:44:23

the sheriffs are all smiles.

0:44:230:44:25

So, a massive ordeal for us today, bit of drama with the police,

0:44:250:44:29

but finally we won the battle.

0:44:290:44:31

It ended up being exactly what we wanted in the end.

0:44:310:44:34

THEY LAUGH

0:44:340:44:36

The debtor company later appealed the judgment against them,

0:44:360:44:40

but a judge rejected their case

0:44:400:44:42

and Louise was finally given back her money.

0:44:420:44:44

If the sheriffs were here now, I'd give them all a big hug and a

0:44:440:44:48

kiss because they've done an amazing job.

0:44:480:44:50

I never thought anyone would be able to get the money,

0:44:500:44:53

it's just fantastic news.

0:44:530:44:54

And it didn't end there.

0:44:570:44:58

Trading Standards subsequently prosecuted the business for

0:44:580:45:01

misdescribing the Fiesta in their advert and for selling Louise

0:45:010:45:05

a dangerous and unroadworthy vehicle.

0:45:050:45:09

They were fined a total of £7,500.

0:45:090:45:12

For Louise, it's the end of a long ordeal.

0:45:120:45:15

Now it's over, yeah,

0:45:150:45:17

maybe I can start to relax and look forward to

0:45:170:45:19

one day buying a new car when I feel more confident about doing so.

0:45:190:45:24

When debtors can't pay on the spot...

0:45:310:45:34

I'm assuming that you haven't got £5,000.

0:45:340:45:36

Oh, dear.

0:45:360:45:38

..the sheriffs won't always remove assets to get your money.

0:45:380:45:41

Goods go for about a fifth of their true value at auction,

0:45:410:45:44

and it's often better to agree to a payment plan.

0:45:440:45:47

If you can come up with half of it today...

0:45:470:45:49

Do you reckon you can do 200 a week?

0:45:490:45:52

They'll make a list of assets...

0:45:520:45:54

They've got an ice machine, bar-chilling cabinets...

0:45:540:45:57

Television, PlayStation...

0:45:570:45:59

..and a controlled goods agreement is signed,

0:45:590:46:01

making it an offence for anyone else to remove them...

0:46:010:46:05

When you sign the form, it acts as security.

0:46:050:46:08

..and the sheriffs will only return to take the goods if the debtor

0:46:080:46:11

fails to make payments.

0:46:110:46:13

I've signed him up for £1,000 a month.

0:46:130:46:16

Providing you stick to that, you won't hear from us again.

0:46:160:46:18

The sheriffs' cases come in all shapes and sizes.

0:46:220:46:26

Debts start at £600, but can reach well into the millions.

0:46:260:46:30

The debtors can be anything from one man and his dog

0:46:300:46:33

to giant corporations.

0:46:330:46:35

For enforcement agent Ken Warby, his first job of the day

0:46:350:46:39

is against one of the big boys, a household name.

0:46:390:46:43

This morning, we are off to a company called Procter & Gamble -

0:46:430:46:47

huge company, soaps and toothpastes and suchlike.

0:46:470:46:50

To be specific, Ken's writ is for a division of the corporation

0:46:520:46:56

called Procter & Gamble Product Supply UK Limited,

0:46:560:46:59

which owes a man £3,108 in legal costs.

0:46:590:47:03

I think this is an office premises we're going to visit,

0:47:090:47:11

so there should be some assets there.

0:47:110:47:14

I would imagine, a company of this size,

0:47:140:47:17

they will have a head office that would do any payments,

0:47:170:47:22

so I wouldn't imagine the payment would probably come from here.

0:47:220:47:26

But as Ken approaches his destination,

0:47:260:47:28

it becomes clear it's not what he was expecting.

0:47:280:47:31

"P&G London".

0:47:310:47:33

I think we're going in the right direction.

0:47:330:47:35

Instead of a small office with a car park,

0:47:350:47:38

his sat nav has led him to a sprawling industrial site.

0:47:380:47:41

Look at the size of these buildings! Look at the size of them!

0:47:410:47:43

They all seem to be Procter & Gamble,

0:47:430:47:46

and Ken's got no idea where he's going.

0:47:460:47:49

There's no signs up or anything.

0:47:490:47:52

Where would the office be?

0:47:520:47:53

It's got to be around here somewhere.

0:47:530:47:56

I... I can smell soap.

0:47:560:47:58

Eventually, he's directed to a car park outside a chemical plant.

0:47:580:48:03

It looks like Cape Canaveral.

0:48:030:48:05

What kind of assets he could possibly remove from

0:48:050:48:08

a place like this isn't clear.

0:48:080:48:10

Still, he tracks down reception and heads in.

0:48:100:48:13

But before he can utter a word...

0:48:150:48:17

Erm... No, sir. Can you turn that off?

0:48:190:48:21

..our cameraman's asked to leave.

0:48:210:48:23

Inside, Ken begins the task of retrieving the claimant's money.

0:48:250:48:29

He knows all too well that turning up unannounced at the doors

0:48:290:48:32

of huge companies often causes confusion.

0:48:320:48:35

Half the battle is usually finding someone on site who knows

0:48:350:48:39

about the debt or has the authorisation to make a payment.

0:48:390:48:43

This time, Ken gets lucky, and the reception staff manage to

0:48:430:48:47

track someone down who knows about the case -

0:48:470:48:49

even better, they agree to pay it.

0:48:490:48:51

So far, so good -

0:48:510:48:54

only, it turns out not to be that simple.

0:48:540:48:57

Two hours after walking in, Ken comes back out empty-handed.

0:48:570:49:01

They've tried to make the payment by American Express.

0:49:010:49:04

Unfortunately, we don't take American Express,

0:49:040:49:06

and they are the only cards that they've got on the premises.

0:49:060:49:09

So we've had to wait around for the office to contact their head office,

0:49:090:49:16

that isn't here, to make a bank transfer or an alternative card.

0:49:160:49:20

Hopefully they'll do it.

0:49:200:49:23

Ken's hardly worried about the company's ability to pay.

0:49:230:49:26

Although the name on his writ is for one of its UK subsidiaries,

0:49:260:49:30

Procter & Gamble is an American multinational giant,

0:49:300:49:33

with a turnover running into many billions of pounds.

0:49:330:49:37

But, after being here two hours, Ken would rather not have to wait

0:49:370:49:41

much longer for payment, and he doesn't have to.

0:49:410:49:44

The head office have been able to access another card,

0:49:440:49:48

not an Amex card, and the payment's gone through.

0:49:480:49:52

It all went smoothly, really. I didn't have to raise my voice.

0:49:520:49:55

They knew from the off that they owed the money.

0:49:550:49:58

And that means Ken never had to seriously consider removing

0:49:580:50:01

assets from the chemical plant, although he did threaten it.

0:50:010:50:04

I told them my intentions were to list items and have them removed.

0:50:040:50:08

It's not going to happen for a small debt

0:50:080:50:10

for a company of this size.

0:50:100:50:12

If it was, it would end up a right soap story. Excuse the pun.

0:50:120:50:15

Enforcement agent Tommy Coyle is in the East Midlands

0:50:210:50:24

with a potentially tough away fixture on his hands.

0:50:240:50:27

We're on our way to Corby today.

0:50:290:50:31

We're visiting Corby Town Football Club.

0:50:310:50:33

I think they're quite a small club.

0:50:330:50:35

There's previously been an agent visit the property.

0:50:350:50:38

I spoke to a Steve, who's the chairman, who promised payment.

0:50:380:50:42

The payments have not been forthcoming.

0:50:420:50:45

Corby Town FC has been taken to court for unpaid invoices

0:50:450:50:49

by a company which has done groundwork on the pitch.

0:50:490:50:52

The club didn't defend the case and judgment was issued by default.

0:50:520:50:57

It owes...

0:50:570:50:58

Tommy's not much of a football fan but today he's hoping to

0:51:020:51:05

kick off a successful enforcement for his client.

0:51:050:51:08

Hopefully they'll have some assets there.

0:51:080:51:10

Could be a small bar, could be some minivans.

0:51:100:51:14

Could be some trophies,

0:51:140:51:15

but I don't know how many trophies Corby Town have won recently.

0:51:150:51:20

Thankfully, it's not match day.

0:51:200:51:22

"Welcome to Corby Town FC".

0:51:220:51:24

Although Tommy has no trouble getting into the grounds,

0:51:250:51:28

finding anyone to talk to might be another matter.

0:51:280:51:32

But he soon navigates his way into some kind of clubhouse,

0:51:320:51:35

where a team talk appears to be underway.

0:51:350:51:38

HE KNOCKS

0:51:380:51:40

-Hiya, you all right?

-Is the chairman about?

0:51:400:51:42

Could you give him a call for me? It's quite urgent.

0:51:450:51:48

I'm an enforcement agent.

0:51:480:51:49

Tommy's stumbled on the club's youth academy,

0:51:490:51:52

and the man in charge offers to get the chairman on the phone.

0:51:520:51:55

Is it?

0:51:580:51:59

-I don't know what else I can do.

-Is there anyone else you can call?

0:51:590:52:01

Cos the problem I have, I'm literally here,

0:52:010:52:04

I'm going to start listing assets down straight away.

0:52:040:52:06

Once I've listed everything down, I literally could be getting

0:52:060:52:09

contractors here and start removing stuff.

0:52:090:52:11

News that an enforcement agent is planning to remove

0:52:130:52:15

the contents of the clubhouse soon gets through to the right person.

0:52:150:52:20

-You all right?

-Chairman on the phone.

0:52:200:52:22

-Is this Steve, is it?

-Steve, yeah.

0:52:220:52:24

Hello, sir.

0:52:250:52:26

But club chairman Steve Noble hasn't called up to make a payment,

0:52:280:52:32

he instead has a different take on events.

0:52:320:52:34

What you're saying is he's willing to pay all the cost...

0:52:350:52:38

He's talking about a deal he's come to with the claimant.

0:52:380:52:42

I appreciate what you're saying, but unless I'm instructed

0:52:420:52:45

by a court, I have to carry on in my actions today.

0:52:450:52:48

All right, speak to you in a bit.

0:52:480:52:50

Chairman seems to think that he's come to an agreement with

0:52:510:52:54

the claimant, the claimant was going to pay our cost directly to us

0:52:540:52:59

and then they were going to come to an agreement between theirselves.

0:52:590:53:02

I've got no notes of that.

0:53:020:53:04

And a quick call to Tommy's office suggests that

0:53:040:53:07

while the claimant may be willing to accept a payment schedule,

0:53:070:53:10

he wants any such deal to be arranged through the sheriffs.

0:53:100:53:14

Oh, right, OK, so it's not what he said, then.

0:53:140:53:17

In the meantime, Tommy's search for assets continues.

0:53:180:53:22

In the bar, there's some alcohol.

0:53:230:53:25

Limited wet stock.

0:53:250:53:27

And a modest collection of silverware.

0:53:270:53:30

Three cups up there. One large one there.

0:53:300:53:32

So I'll make a note of them.

0:53:330:53:35

Though the first aid room turns out to be of more interest.

0:53:360:53:40

Oh, here we go.

0:53:400:53:42

Resuscitating machine, electronic one.

0:53:420:53:43

You just put the paddles on, start her up,

0:53:430:53:45

and it saves your life, basically.

0:53:450:53:48

They're really good bits of kit.

0:53:480:53:50

Tommy knows how to use one from his days in the Marines.

0:53:500:53:53

I was FA2 trained.

0:53:530:53:55

So I could do a bit of first aid,

0:53:570:53:58

stop you bleeding out if you got shot.

0:53:580:54:00

Hopefully, that won't be necessary today.

0:54:020:54:04

Tommy takes the kit to the van and tries to reach the chairman again

0:54:050:54:09

to see if he's going to come up with the money.

0:54:090:54:11

Hello, Mr Noble, it's the enforcement agent.

0:54:110:54:14

But it's not the news he wanted.

0:54:140:54:17

The chairman still wants to come to an arrangement,

0:54:170:54:19

but without putting any money upfront.

0:54:190:54:21

Without making that payment now, we're not going to be able to

0:54:220:54:26

facilitate anything other than removing what we can.

0:54:260:54:29

We won't just come, leave a letter and then not return.

0:54:290:54:32

I'm sent back to enforce it

0:54:320:54:33

and I won't leave here today without payment or taking stuff with me.

0:54:330:54:39

If you're telling me it's impossible to make any kind of payment today,

0:54:390:54:42

then, kind of, our conversation's going to come to an end,

0:54:420:54:46

cos I'm just going to have to carry on what I'm going to do here.

0:54:460:54:49

It looks like removal is Tommy's only option,

0:54:490:54:52

and he takes his search for assets pitch-side.

0:54:520:54:55

Two goalposts.

0:54:550:54:58

Which, believe it or not, could be removed,

0:54:580:55:00

although they're not as useful as what's in the outbuildings.

0:55:000:55:03

Ah, that's the one. Exactly what I'm looking for.

0:55:040:55:07

Something with a bit of monetary value.

0:55:070:55:11

I'll have the keys as well.

0:55:110:55:12

But before he can get too carried away,

0:55:140:55:16

he's interrupted by a groundsman.

0:55:160:55:18

Ain't they?

0:55:220:55:23

Whose are they?

0:55:230:55:25

They're yours?

0:55:250:55:26

Have you got any evidence of that? Who are you?

0:55:290:55:31

In terms of assets,

0:55:340:55:36

the football club isn't proving to be rich pickings.

0:55:360:55:39

Tommy's running out of places to look

0:55:390:55:41

and thoughts wander to Sheriffs FC.

0:55:410:55:45

I'll be a forward, Kev on the wing.

0:55:450:55:47

We'll have Wild in defence with Ken,

0:55:470:55:50

Alan in goal.

0:55:500:55:52

Grixy will be our manager.

0:55:520:55:53

Tommy returns to the van to start organising the removal,

0:55:560:56:00

but is interrupted by another phone call.

0:56:000:56:02

Let's just get this right, then -

0:56:020:56:04

you hold the lease for the grounds here.

0:56:040:56:07

And the building, yeah.

0:56:070:56:09

There's been a late substitution and a new player is on the pitch.

0:56:100:56:14

It's the landlord, who's got wind that the club's goalposts,

0:56:140:56:18

among other things, might be about to be removed.

0:56:180:56:21

It sounds like he could be willing to make a payment.

0:56:210:56:23

OK, sir. All right, speak to you in a bit. Bye.

0:56:250:56:27

He's willing to pay on their behalf the 3,000,

0:56:290:56:31

and he'll have it paid by midday tomorrow.

0:56:310:56:33

With limited assets here and other multiple claims

0:56:350:56:37

over their ownership, it's a deal Tommy's prepared to agree to.

0:56:370:56:41

The landlord soon arrives at the club,

0:56:420:56:44

where he meets with Tommy off camera.

0:56:440:56:46

A controlled goods agreement is signed for the assets

0:56:470:56:50

listed down and Tommy leaves satisfied.

0:56:500:56:53

With the complexities we had then

0:56:540:56:56

and the amount of third-party claims,

0:56:560:56:58

and with the property being leased by somebody else,

0:56:580:57:01

I think it's a good result, getting the CGA, £1,500 per month,

0:57:010:57:05

with the £3,000 paid tomorrow.

0:57:050:57:07

The £3,000 arrived as promised and the company which did

0:57:080:57:12

the work on the pitch has started to receive its money.

0:57:120:57:15

Sheriffs Tommy and Craig are pelted with eggs and rocks as they go in search of the money owed by a second-hand car dealer who sold a vehicle that turned out to be a death trap.

Lawrence and Kev are faced with the prospect of seizing some seriously heavy machinery in search of a large debt.

Sheriffs evict a large group of squatters from a heavily barricaded building in south London.