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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Meet the sheriffs. My name's Mr Grix, my colleague and I are enforcement agents.
It's to do with a High Court order. They work for the High Court,
and if it says you're owed money,
it's their job to go and get it.
I'm here for ?6,072.18.
They can demand payment on the spot...
I'm here for the full balance.
How are you going to pay it?
..or remove assets instead.
The car will be going, unless you can pay it.
You'll have a week to pay in full before it gets sold at auction.
Obstructing their work can be a criminal offence.
I wouldn't do that if I 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.
Louise Alderson thought she'd bought herself the perfect second-hand car,
but it was a deathtrap.
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.
A budding property developer's lost out
after squatters took over his building.
We have subsidised the squatters by approximately ?20,000.
When the sheriffs try to evict them,
they get more than they bargained for.
Didn't see all that, did you?
At a demolition company, Lawrence eyes up some seriously heavy goods.
We've been sent to this address today, sir, to take control
of goods, which at the moment is the excavators and the crusher.
Ken's got a writ for a multinational giant.
Look at the size of these buildings! It looks like Cape Canaveral.
The sheriffs' success is often down to their ability to take
control of the debtor's goods to use as leverage until they get paid,
but debtors often claim their assets belong to someone else.
The sheriffs won't take that at face value,
and will always do what they can to get to the truth.
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 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, and 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."
So Louise went to have a look...
and was initially underwhelmed by the dealership.
My first impression was that, actually,
this isn't what I was expecting.
It was in the middle of an industrial estate,
there was a tip nearby, and it didn't have a proper office.
So I was immediately put off by that, but then when I saw the car
and saw how lovely it was, and the man,
the sales guy I spoke to, he came across as very friendly and
very genuine, very honest, so that changed my mind.
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 was very worried and so she took the car to a Ford specialist
to check it over.
They discovered the truth about Louise's new car -
it had been badly repaired after an accident
and it had some serious 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."
And it was a continuum of that,
my husband tried to ring them and speak to them as well.
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.
It was just a continuum of, "Where's the car, we want the car,
"meet the car, we'll send somebody out to get the car."
But never at any point promising to actually pay for it
at the same time as well.
And my husband and I had decided that the one thing that we were
adamant about not happening was for that car to go back on the road.
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.
The last time the sheriffs visited the dealership,
they found a large lot full of vehicles,
but it was locked up and no-one was around,
so all they could do was leave a letter.
Today, they're back, and things look a lot more promising.
It's open. Are you ready?
Again, there are plenty of cars in the yard,
and this time the sheriffs have no problem finding someone to speak to.
Is the boss about?
He's not here at the moment, mate. 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.
Obviously they've sent us out, they've sent us out to execute this court writ today.
And it sounds like he's making all the noises Craig likes to hear.
Lovely. Sounds positive.
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. OK.
There may be dozens of cars here, but the sheriffs plan to
check every single one against the paperwork the director provides.
So they start noting the registration numbers of the cars.
It's like a maze getting through here, a maze of cars.
It's going to take some time, but as they only need to find a few
decent cars belonging to the debtor company, it might be worth it.
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 all it does is 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.
Meanwhile, perhaps unsure themselves of what stock is here,
the employees are making a list of their own.
They're taking their own lists.
If they can supply the evidence that it was bought and paid for by
a third-party company, rather than our company,
then we'll be satisfied with that and then we'll walk away.
If they can't supply that,
then clearly we'll take it to the next level.
Later, tempers flare as the sheriffs up the ante.
Mind that egg.
If this balance isn't paid,
then we're instructed to remove these vehicles.
Using the County Courts to try to recover money you're owed
1.5 million money claims are made every year in England and Wales,
involving anything from faulty goods or poor workmanship
to unpaid invoices.
Claims can be filed by post or online for a small fee.
Both parties in the case will be asked to submit evidence,
and you may have to attend a court hearing.
If you're successful,
a County Court Judgment, or CCJ, will be issued against the debtor,
and if they still don't pay, that's when you call the sheriffs.
Enforcing a writ often requires the sheriffs to draw on all
their powers of persuasion and negotiation, but these tactics
work best when the debtor is willing to engage in a meaningful dialogue.
Sometimes debtors simply don't want to play ball.
In the south-east today, sheriffs Laurence Grix and Kev McNally
are about to demonstrate that it's sheer persistence
that pays off.
This morning we are on our way to Pyecombe in West Sussex,
just outside Brighton.
We're going to see Wealden Haulage Demolition Limited,
and this debt is relating to...
tipper hire charges, crushed concrete haulage and muck away.
In other words, waste disposal services
supplied by another company, who haven't been paid.
Wealden Haulage Demolition Limited were taken to court
and didn't offer a defence,
so judgment was entered by default.
Three months later and they still haven't paid,
but the sheriffs are hoping to finally make sure they do.
They owe a total of ?16,335.
They actually operate off a farm, so we're going to go there.
As they turn in to the address,
they immediately set eyes on a haulage truck.
This is the right place, isn't it?
They head past the farm shop and up the track towards a house.
Hello. Hello, you two. Hello.
Morning, sir. Hello.
I'm looking for Wealden Haulage Demolition Limited.
That's me. That's you.
It's Markus Saich, the company director.
We have a High Court writ to execute against
Wealden Haulage Demolition.
The amount outstanding today is ?16,335.99. Right.
We're ordered out to take control of
goods to that value to clear the debt...
Right. ..and the only way to prevent further action is to pay in full.
Yeah, but I've applied to the court to have that set aside,
and I'm waiting to hear back, so...
Right. An application doesn't stop enforcement, sir. I've...
I've been told it does. By a solicitor?
Yeah. Yeah? No, it doesn't.
Is this your private residence or is the business actually run from here?
The business is run from down there. This is my private residence. Right.
I'm assuming you don't want goods removed.
No, I don't know what goods you ARE going to remove,
cos there isn't anything here that isn't on HP.
But before Lawrence can probe for details, Mr Saich simply walks off.
It's a bizarre turn of events, but Lawrence isn't fazed.
I'm just going to make a note of some registrations
and then we'll go down to where the business is run from,
because we're more likely to find some assets down there,
I would think.
The sheriffs get in the van, and drive back to the farm shop
where it looked like Mr Saich was headed.
As they approach, Kevin thinks he spots movement inside.
He's in there. What, in the shop? Yeah.
Is that where he is, is he? Yeah.
But any hopes that they may have found Mr Saich soon evaporate.
No, it's shut.
The farm shop is locked, and there's no sign of anyone inside.
There was someone in there, 100%,
and there's no-one else around, is there?
No. They might be in an office at the back or something.
Lawrence has a nose around, but there's no other way in,
and still no sign of Mr Saich.
Their best option now to get the debt paid is to identify some
company assets, which on paper should be straightforward.
They've got fixed assets of 674 grand,
or they did have in November 15,
so they've got a hell of a lot of assets.
The problem is, not many of them seem to be here.
We've got four-by-fours and things outside the house,
which he's turned round and said are all on finance,
but whether they belong to the company or not...
There's also this tipper...
That truck's what we'd need, really.
..but it's massive.
We can't clamp it, can we? No. Definitely.
I don't think there is a clamp on the market that will
get on the wheel of one of those,
cos that would have to go on an articulated low loader,
or possibly be dragged,
but if you're going to drag it,
you've got to take all the driveshafts out.
It's a pig of a job.
It's too much for now,
and, importantly, if the debtor's appeal is successful,
the sheriffs wouldn't be able to recover the costs.
So, with no assets, and Mr Saich unwilling to cooperate,
this time the sheriffs will have to call it quits, for now.
But we'll check out all the vehicle registrations,
and if any of them do come back to the company
and they're clear of finance, we can come back and take them.
So, at the moment, I'm just going to leave paperwork, and that's that.
Later, the saga continues, when the sheriffs
pay Wealden Haulage Demolition another visit.
It's 6am in Brixton, south London.
All right, I'll give out a couple of copies of the writ.
Under the cover of darkness,
the sheriffs are quietly preparing to carry out an eviction
on a group of squatters.
They've taken over a nearby commercial premises,
and it's the job of team leader Mark King
to take it back for the owner.
The client has said there is potentially
up to 15 people in there.
We'll give them the opportunity to get their stuff together.
If they don't, or they mess about or become aggressive or anything,
they'll just be removed from the property.
The building is owned by Julien Gressier.
He works in the fashion industry,
but, with a background in architecture,
also has a sideline in small-scale property development.
For me, it's about doing something that I like doing
and trying to make a living,
while creating homes which are desperately needed, you know,
in the UK and in London.
The property in question is a commercial building,
which, until recently, was used to sell car parts.
However, shortly after buying it at auction,
Julien was informed that squatters had moved in.
As the building had been empty for a few months,
at first he was sympathetic, and went to speak to them.
They were keen on some sort of deal whereby they stay in the place,
look after it, and it wouldn't deteriorate any further.
To some extent, we were probably open to discussion,
but I think came a point where we fairly quickly realised
that they were taking the mickey, if you can use that!
The squatters are preventing access to the building
which Julien needs to progress the works,
and because he was unable to persuade them to leave,
he's embarking on the legal process of getting them removed.
We are paying, every month.
Business rates are probably about ?3,000 a month.
we have subsidised the squatters by approximately ?20,000.
Julien has now obtained a writ of possession from the courts,
which means he can legally evict the squatters.
It's now down to the sheriffs to finish the job.
Julien's sure that one way or another,
he'll get the property back,
but he's worried about what state it might be in.
The squatters have now been in the property for nearly a month,
a month and a half, maybe nearly two months?
We have been told by neighbours
that there are approximately 30 people in there,
dogs as well, so we don't know how bad it's going to be.
While the squatters are asleep,
the sheriffs are getting ready to make their move.
Team leader Mark King is no stranger to the tricks
squatters can employ to keep the authorities out,
so he's doing a recce with locksmith Andy
to find out what they might be up against,
and it doesn't look good.
Just had a look, all the shutters around the front and the side
are padlocked or locked up.
Don't look like they're being used.
There are two doors which are both locked,
but they're barricaded on the inside.
Barricaded doors are bad news for the sheriffs.
They want to gain access quickly and quietly
before the squatters are awake and can cause any trouble.
So Mark needs to choose which of the doors
he thinks will be the easiest for the team to force open.
Just get the door open.
He opts for one which he thinks the squatters might be using
to go in and out themselves, and gives the go-ahead.
Knock it in.
The door is putting up a fight, but persistence pays off.
And with a bit of elbow grease, the sheriffs manage to prise it open.
All right. Hold on, hold on.
What's behind it, though, is going to be much more of a problem.
That ain't the way they're coming in, then.
The doorway's thoroughly barricaded.
The sheriffs throw everything at it they can.
Someone else give it a go.
But they've lost the element of surprise,
so Mark might as well appeal to the squatters directly.
Right, listen, fellas.
We're enforcement officers with a High Court writ.
We're coming in. You need to start packing up your stuff, yeah?
What the sheriffs don't want is to give the squatters enough time
to create any more obstacles...
..especially as the heavily-fortified barricade
they're already up against isn't showing any signs of budging.
Keep going at that one.
Mark can't afford to waste any more time,
so turns his attention to the shutters instead.
That doesn't prove to be much easier, but eventually,
they manage to force a gap just wide enough to squeeze through.
All right, we're in, we're in. Go, go, go.
Once inside, they set about waking everyone up and moving them out.
Right, you need to pack your stuff straightaway.
You've got ten minutes.
All right, fella, get your stuff packed up.
You need to leave, yeah?
Half-asleep squatters aren't the easiest to get motivated.
And it's not only people that need to leave.
We've got dogs, yeah.
Yeah, three upstairs. All right. OK.
As the squatters slowly start to get their possessions together,
Mark reviews his tactical entry.
We chose the wrong door, really, didn't we?!
But you can't, you can't tell until you get inside.
I mean, we would have got through that eventually.
Either way, they're in,
and it seems like the squatters accept the game's up.
They were throwing stuff against the door first off,
but once we were in, they're just packing up, aren't they?
Because they know what's happening.
The sheriffs' priority now
is to try to get the squatters to remove as many of their possessions
as possible, preferably quickly.
..we don't want them to be here too long,
because the longer we're here, the more it's costing the client, but...
..on the other hand, we want them to take their possessions,
because if they've got their stuff,
then they're not going to want to get back in here.
And this group certainly has a lot of stuff.
While the squatters' possessions pile up on the pavement outside,
Mark has a look around the premises.
He's seen worse, but like many squatted properties,
it's been left in a bit of a state.
One of their bedrooms,
which is probably some old office or something.
Normally, they take their mattresses with them,
but they've not bothered this time.
So far, things are all going smoothly enough.
Just when it looks like this eviction
might pass without incident,
the mood starts to change.
Just come and go, get your stuff, if you carry on, listen,
if you carry on playing up, yeah,
it's going to affect other people getting their stuff, OK?
Come and get your stuff as you need to, and that's it.
Another of the squatters isn't keen on having their 15 minutes of fame,
and is obstructing our cameraman.
Just leave her alone. No, I'm in the street, you're not police,
you do your job, this is a public highway.
Yeah, it's a public highway.
When the sheriffs step in, tempers flare.
Don't touch me, not in a public place, don't touch me.
I'm not touching anything.
Not touching anything.
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
Look, just calm down, fellas.
Do you want to get arrested? Why?
Do you want to get arrested?
We're in the street. Well then, stop.
You're going to make things worse for everyone else out here.
The squatters are becoming more and more agitated.
The situation is starting to turn ugly.
Watch me! Hey, hey, hey!
Try and burn me again with it, and I will chuck it.
No. You don't... You are grabbing me.
You just tried to burn me with your cigarette.
Don't grab me. This woman is grabbing me.
I'm not doing anything.
No-one else to go back in now.
No-one goes in now, Rupert.
Take a step back.
What? Take a step back, take a step back.
No-one's going back in there cos she's messing about.
For the sheriffs, enough is enough.
With some of the squatters getting aggressive,
the decision is taken not to let any of them back inside.
So whatever possessions are still in the building will have to be left behind.
So it's now all the more important the building's well and truly secured,
so they don't break back in later.
Locksmith Andy's already on the case,
and there is at least one door where the job's been done for him.
Yeah, a bit of barricading from the front.
So I don't think Andy will do anything with that,
because it's as good as it's going to be.
As the new locks go on, the squatters start to disperse.
But just as it appears that the tensions have been defused,
one man who was causing trouble earlier comes back for more...
A MAN SHOUTS
..kicking our cameraman in the shins as a parting shot.
We don't care. You're not welcome.
He's just doing his job. Leave him alone.
That's the last we see of him, though,
and as the final stragglers head on their way,
the sheriffs' work is done.
All the locks have been changed.
All the padlocks, exterior locks, door locks, everything.
The property's secure.
just got to sign vacant possession to the client,
and then it's time for breakfast.
The property is now back in the hands of the owner,
and, a few weeks later, we're catching up with him.
Julien says the damage turned out to be far worse
than he had feared.
You had the alarm system that they ripped out...
..you had the copper pipes, which were pretty much running all across,
that they nicked.
You know, chopped them off, sold for scrap, I guess.
The worst was actually all the rubbish that we had to get rid of.
That was probably about ?3,000 to get rid of it.
But with the clear-up complete, the space is now usable once more.
Julien is relieved to have his project back on track.
I'm really happy I got the place back.
It was pretty much two months of delay,
but it's now behind us.
I have to thank the sheriffs very much
for their...for their help.
And giving us the space back, really.
Tommy and Craig are at a used-car dealer's in the West Midlands
which owes just over ?8,500 to Louise Alderson.
She 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.
The Renault Megane, right there - ?2,560.
It's not long before he discovers some more interesting information -
logbooks and sales invoices.
One immediately catches his attention.
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.
There's some of these other vehicles as well.
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.
Before long, Craig's identified a number of other vehicles too,
and the sheriffs step outside the cabin to confer in private.
We've got an '09 Renault Clio. These are all here. Mm-hm.
The logbooks are in there and the keys are in there as well,
so the game might be up soon.
Seize this paperwork, then, yeah? They ain't having it back.
Craig reckons if these vehicles don't belong to the other company,
and they're up for sale in the debtor's yard,
then they must belong to the debtor.
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.
My office have instructed me to let you know that, obviously,
if this balance isn't paid,
then we're instructed to remove these vehicles.
The director still claims the vehicles belong to someone else.
Sir, I'm not here to argue.
If you can't provide evidence -
further evidence, because we've got the evidence here -
these vehicles will be removed today.
Unless, of course, he's willing to pay.
OK, so the choice is yours.
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.
White BLEEP. Listen, yeah? You dirty BLEEP.
You film me, I'll smack your head all over the floor, you white BLEEP.
Have that for the BBC.
BLEEP dirty BLEEP.
Film 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...
MEN LAUGH 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 BLEEP!
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.
It's a bit unfortunate, but part of the job.
The cameraman's coat's come off worse for wear,
but luckily no-one's hurt...
More of it's on your head, mate.
..and the men have vanished by the time the police arrive.
Are you all right? It's just that they've ran off.
They jumped our cameraman, basically... OK.
..smashed eggs on him, started throwing rocks at him.
A rock just skimmed his head. OK.
And we got you... Obviously, we called you guys. All right.
After speaking to our cameraman, the police head into the cabin.
They're just going to make a bit of an investigation.
There was threats made of...that they were going to petrol-bomb us,
and that they were going to come back,
so obviously we have to take these things seriously,
especially the fact they were throwing rocks.
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.
Luckily for us,
a friend arrived and managed to talk round the situation to him,
and it's more cost-effective to pay it now and challenge it later,
which is exactly what he's going to try and do,
so, 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.
One of the salesmen goes to pick it up.
When he returns 45 minutes later, the sheriffs are expectant.
Oh, look, he's got an envelope.
Have we got it? Yeah? There we go.
Have you got the money?
No money? No.
No money at all? No, man.
Well, where did you go? TOMMY LAUGHS
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.
Lawrence and Kev are back on the trail of a debt
owed by a company called Wealden Haulage Demolition Ltd.
They previously visited the company's registered address,
which was on a farm. This is the right place, isn't it?
But the director, Markus Saich, was far from helpful.
And the only real asset there wasn't going anywhere in a hurry.
That would have to go on an articulated low loader.
Or possibly be dragged.
Other vehicles seen at the site have now been confirmed as being
on finance, and further contact with Mr Saich hasn't come to much.
The director did contact me,
saying that there was an order from the court stopping enforcement.
But despite repeated requests, he hasn't provided that.
So as far as we're concerned, this writ is still live.
So far, they've had the doors shut in their face at every turn.
But the sheriffs don't give up easily,
and now they've got a new lead -
a tip-off of a site where Wealden might be operating.
So they're going there in the hope of collecting the ?19,000 now owing.
On arrival, it appears to be
some kind of aggregate processing facility.
There aren't any signs mentioning the debtor company,
but Lawrence spots a man working on the site and tries his luck.
Looking for Wealden Haulage Demolition.
My name's Mr Grix. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.
We've got a High Court writ against Wealden Haulage Demolition.
We're ordered here today to take control of goods,
which by the looks of it is the excavator and the crusher.
Are you able to get him on the phone?
Thank you very much.
The man said it's the right place
and the machines they expected to see are here.
So far, so good.
Until Lawrence is handed the phone.
Good morning, sir.
Was it you I met at the other address, at your house?
It is indeed the company director, Markus Saich.
We've been sent to this address today, sir, to take control
of goods, which at the moment is the excavators and the crusher.
Once again, Lawrence is told everything is on finance.
Have you got paperwork to that effect?
Are you able to get that to us?
Mr Saich says if Lawrence wants the paperwork, he can come and get it.
Right, well, I'm not coming there, sir, because I'm here,
and I'm going to be taking these goods into control.
I can't take them into control at your other premises, can I?
But not only is Mr Saich refusing to bring the documents
the sheriffs need to see, he's now once again claiming that
enforcement action has been stopped by the court.
Lawrence is sceptical.
You told me weeks ago, sir, there was
an order from the court stopping execution.
I've asked you repeatedly for that and you haven't provided it.
It hasn't been stopped until you find out what's going on.
I have a live writ.
OK, then, sir, call the police.
It would be far more helpful if you have... Oh, there you go.
Actually, it would be a good thing if the police turn up now.
That might prompt him to get down here,
and that would be better for us.
It's one of the ways in which we can progress this one at the moment.
Otherwise, Mr Saich's reluctance to cooperate is once again
leaving the sheriffs in a tricky position.
If the machinery really doesn't belong to Wealden Haulage
Demolition Ltd, then removing it would be a very expensive mistake.
But it doesn't sound like the director's going to help them
put the ownership beyond doubt.
The director of the company doesn't really want to speak to us.
Whenever you get a job where you can't establish some
kind of sensible dialogue,
it's really awkward to get any kind of resolution, one way or the other.
If the vehicles are leased from somebody, just give us
the paperwork and we can go away!
As it is, the sheriffs will have to work it out for themselves,
so they head inside the yard for a closer look.
But as they do, the worker present asks our camera to leave
and shuts the gates behind him.
Seeing the chain go on, Lawrence gives the man a warning.
I know that obviously your boss is telling you to do things,
but I just have to advise you, from your point of view,
it is a criminal offence to obstruct us,
so I'm just advising you on a personal level,
because if you do anything... I wouldn't want you doing anything
that puts you personally in jeopardy
because you're following your boss's instructions.
The employee goes back to work while the sheriffs have a nose around.
However, their exploration of the site reveals
nothing besides the huge amounts of concrete,
and no further clues to the ownership of the machines.
There's a building next to the yard with another company's name
over the door, so Kev heads in to ask what, if anything,
they can tell the sheriffs about the crusher and the diggers.
He soon returns with news.
That crusher's financed and it's owned by this lot. Yeah.
He got his boss on the phone and he was like,
"Yeah, no, no, it's definitely ours."
And they've got no reason to... No.
Meanwhile, Lawrence has made a discovery of his own -
one of the two diggers has broken down on top of a pile of aggregate.
They began the day hoping to walk out of here with nearly ?20,000,
but that now looks like a tall order.
# Don't know where we're going, got no way of knowing
# Driving on the road to nowhere. #
Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do
because the one digger is immobile with a knackered engine,
the crusher we've already confirmed belongs to somebody else
and the digger's in use, and we can't take
something into control if it's actually in use at the time.
And he's still adamant it's leased from somebody.
More than two hours after they arrived,
and with no sign of the police, Lawrence eventually gets
a call from the debtor's solicitor, who's only just been instructed.
They say they'll need a few days to collect the relevant paperwork.
Frustrated, but with no leverage to demand payment,
Lawrence has no choice but to agree.
If you're actually going to cooperate,
which I imagine you will, and deal with this in a sensible manner
rather than just being obstructive like your client,
I'll give you till close of business on Monday to get
the paperwork over, and then I'm quite happy to leave it.
Otherwise I will be back and I will remove it.
But the sheriffs never need to return.
Following filming, Wealden Haulage Demolition Ltd paid
just over ?19,000, clearing their debt in full.
The people who hadn't been paid have now got the money they were owed.
Back in the West Midlands, Tommy and Craig are still at the car dealer's.
They've been there for four hours hoping to collect more than
?8,500 on behalf of a customer,
Louise Alderson, who was sold a dangerous second-hand car.
It's been a very tense day.
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. No. No money at all?
So, the money hasn't arrived.
I spoke to my office, they're organising the transport now
and then we'll take it from there.
Tommy parks the van in the entrance to prevent anyone from trying to
shut the gates.
It's going to go to removal,
so we're looking to get the six cars gone.
The prospect of vehicles being imminently removed is definitely
making the company's attempts to raise the cash more urgent. Hello?
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. Six...
1,800 quid, isn't it? Yeah. Just gone up 1,800 quid.
How long has he got before... Done. The truck's on the way.
It's kind of too late, isn't it, now?
You had the chance over an hour ago.
What can you do?
They don't want to pay the extra fees,
and in an effort to get the removal called off,
again promise that someone's on the way with cash.
He's going to be back in 15 minutes maximum. Cancel it, yes?
I can't cancel it. No, no... You have to.
I can't. How long have we been here?
I know, I know, I know, I understand that. I ain't cancelling it.
I'm not cancelling it at all.
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?
Got ?8,927. 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.
It's taken all day, but with the job finally in the bag,
the sheriffs are all smiles.
So, a massive ordeal for us today, bit of drama with the police,
but finally we won the battle.
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.
For Louise, it's the end of a long ordeal.
Now it's over, yeah,
maybe I can start to relax and look forward to
one day buying a new car when I feel more confident about doing so.
When debtors can't pay on the spot...
I'm assuming that you haven't got ?5,000.
..the sheriffs won't always remove assets to get your money.
Goods go for about a fifth of their true value at auction,
and it's often better to agree to a payment plan.
If you can come up with half of it today...
Do you reckon you can do 200 a week?
They'll make a list of assets...
They've got an ice machine, bar-chilling cabinets...
..and a controlled goods agreement is signed,
making it an offence for anyone else to remove them...
When you sign the form, it acts as security.
..and the sheriffs will only return to take the goods if the debtor
fails to make payments.
I've signed him up for ?1,000 a month.
Providing you stick to that, you won't hear from us again.
The sheriffs' cases come in all shapes and sizes.
Debts start at ?600, but can reach well into the millions.
The debtors can be anything from one man and his dog
to giant corporations.
For enforcement agent Ken Warby, his first job of the day
is against one of the big boys, a household name.
This morning, we are off to a company called Procter Gamble -
huge company, soaps and toothpastes and suchlike.
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.
I think this is an office premises we're going to visit,
so there should be some assets there.
I would imagine, a company of this size,
they will have a head office that would do any payments,
so I wouldn't imagine the payment would probably come from here.
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.
Instead of a small office with a car park,
his sat nav has led him to a sprawling industrial site.
Look at the size of these buildings! Look at the size 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?
It's got to be around here somewhere.
I... I can smell soap.
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.
Enforcement agent Tommy Coyle is in the East Midlands
with a potentially tough away fixture on his hands.
We're on our way to Corby today.
We're visiting Corby Town Football Club.
I think they're quite a small club.
There's previously been an agent visit the property.
I spoke to a Steve, who's the chairman, who promised payment.
The payments have not been forthcoming.
Corby Town FC has been taken to court for unpaid invoices
by a company which has done groundwork on the pitch.
The club didn't defend the case and judgment was issued by default.
Tommy's not much of a football fan but today he's hoping to
kick off a successful enforcement for his client.
Hopefully they'll have some assets there.
Could be a small bar, could be some minivans.
Could be some trophies,
but I don't know how many trophies Corby Town have won recently.
Thankfully, it's not match day.
"Welcome to Corby Town FC".
Although Tommy has no trouble getting into the grounds,
finding anyone to talk to might be another matter.
But he soon navigates his way into some kind of clubhouse,
where a team talk appears to be underway.
Hiya, you all right? Is the chairman about?
Could you give him a call for me? It's quite urgent.
I'm an enforcement agent.
Tommy's stumbled on the club's youth academy,
and the man in charge offers to get the chairman on the phone.
I don't know what else I can do. Is there anyone else you can call?
Cos the problem I have, I'm literally here,
I'm going to start listing assets down straight away.
Once I've listed everything down, I literally could be getting
contractors here and start removing stuff.
News that an enforcement agent is planning to remove
the contents of the clubhouse soon gets through to the right person.
You all right? Chairman on the phone.
Is this Steve, is it? Steve, yeah.
But club chairman Steve Noble hasn't called up to make a payment,
he instead has a different take on events.
What you're saying is he's willing to pay all the cost...
He's talking about a deal he's come to with the claimant.
I appreciate what you're saying, but unless I'm instructed
by a court, I have to carry on in my actions today.
All right, speak to you in a bit.
Chairman seems to think that he's come to an agreement with
the claimant, the claimant was going to pay our cost directly to us
and then they were going to come to an agreement between theirselves.
I've got no notes of that.
And a quick call to Tommy's office suggests that
while the claimant may be willing to accept a payment schedule,
he wants any such deal to be arranged through the sheriffs.
Oh, right, OK, so it's not what he said, then.
In the meantime, Tommy's search for assets continues.
In the bar, there's some alcohol.
Limited wet stock.
And a modest collection of silverware.
Three cups up there. One large one there.
So I'll make a note of them.
Though the first aid room turns out to be of more interest.
Oh, here we go.
Resuscitating machine, electronic one.
You just put the paddles on, start her up,
and it saves your life, basically.
They're really good bits of kit.
Tommy knows how to use one from his days in the Marines.
I was FA2 trained.
So I could do a bit of first aid,
stop you bleeding out if you got shot.
Hopefully, that won't be necessary today.
Tommy takes the kit to the van and tries to reach the chairman again
to see if he's going to come up with the money.
Hello, Mr Noble, it's the enforcement agent.
But it's not the news he wanted.
The chairman still wants to come to an arrangement,
but without putting any money upfront.
Without making that payment now, we're not going to be able to
facilitate anything other than removing what we can.
We won't just come, leave a letter and then not return.
I'm sent back to enforce it
and I won't leave here today without payment or taking stuff with me.
If you're telling me it's impossible to make any kind of payment today,
then, kind of, our conversation's going to come to an end,
cos I'm just going to have to carry on what I'm going to do here.
It looks like removal is Tommy's only option,
and he takes his search for assets pitch-side.
Which, believe it or not, could be removed,
although they're not as useful as what's in the outbuildings.
Ah, that's the one. Exactly what I'm looking for.
Something with a bit of monetary value.
I'll have the keys as well.
But before he can get too carried away,
he's interrupted by a groundsman.
Whose are they?
Have you got any evidence of that? Who are you?
In terms of assets,
the football club isn't proving to be rich pickings.
Tommy's running out of places to look
and thoughts wander to Sheriffs FC.
I'll be a forward, Kev on the wing.
We'll have Wild in defence with Ken,
Alan in goal.
Grixy will be our manager.
Tommy returns to the van to start organising the removal,
but is interrupted by another phone call.
Let's just get this right, then -
you hold the lease for the grounds here.
And the building, yeah.
There's been a late substitution and a new player is on the pitch.
It's the landlord, who's got wind that the club's goalposts,
among other things, might be about to be removed.
It sounds like he could be willing to make a payment.
OK, sir. All right, speak to you in a bit. Bye.
He's willing to pay on their behalf the 3,000,
and he'll have it paid by midday tomorrow.
With limited assets here and other multiple claims
over their ownership, it's a deal Tommy's prepared to agree to.
The landlord soon arrives at the club,
where he meets with Tommy off camera.
A controlled goods agreement is signed for the assets
listed down and Tommy leaves satisfied.
With the complexities we had then
and the amount of third-party claims,
and with the property being leased by somebody else,
I think it's a good result, getting the CGA, ?1,500 per month,
with the ?3,000 paid tomorrow.
The ?3,000 arrived as promised and the company which did
the work on the pitch has started to receive its money.
When I think of the world we inhabit, everyone will think,
"Oh, this was done digitally."
Yeah. And it wasn't, it was done by hand
over days and weeks and months and years.
It was always a very, very deep love affair
between this incredible, wonderful, glorious music
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.