Series following high court enforcement officers. Sheriff Ken won't take no for an answer when he arrives with a High Court writ at a hotel with a debt to pay.
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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 are owed money, it's their job to go and get it.
I am 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 will have a week to pay in full before it gets sold at auction.
Obstructing their work can be a criminal offence.
-I wouldn't do that, if I were you.
-The door needs to stay open.
Every year in England and Wales,
unpaid debts totalling more than £80 million
are recovered by the sheriffs.
Coming up - Rob Gallon took his car in for a repair
and hasn't seen it since.
The car's very important.
It's a big part of my life, it's a hell of a big part of my life.
He's now owed thousands of pounds -
but will the sheriffs be able to get it?
-Can you keep it shut, please?
-I've got every legal right.
-Diligent search, they call it.
-No, you can't.
-Yes, I can.
Ken won't take no for an answer at a hotel with a debt to pay.
Please start making these phone calls now
to get this money to me now, OK? I'll wait.
Lawrence and Kev are on the hunt for a stables manager
who owes money.
No sign of anybody, is there?
The place is deserted - but can they get the debtor's attention?
Return to the stables immediately, please,
so that we can deal with this.
And Tommy and Craig remove not one but two vehicles
from a debtor's driveway.
Today, sheriff Craig Wild is flying solo
without his trusted partner, Tommy Coyle.
He's going to visit the director of a car garage
specialising in engine refurbishments.
We're off to go and see Nitin Kareer
in the centre of Birmingham.
It's to do with a car, just over £6,000.
It all stems from a dispute over the repair of a 4x4, a Mitsubishi L200
owned by Rob Gallon, who needs an off-road vehicle for work.
We install water mains and water services,
it's a family-run business
and it does require going off onto sites where I have to go off road,
across fields. My personal life, I do some shooting,
so the Mitsubishi L200 was absolutely perfect.
But when the turbo failed, causing piston damage,
Rob decided to get the engine replaced
and started looking for a garage to do the work.
Quality Engine Services from Birmingham,
sounded like a company that knew what they were doing.
I did explain to the guy that I would prefer another engine
in the car and not to rebuild the one that I've got,
and he convinced me that he was the one to put this car right.
The man he dealt with called himself Nick.
A week later, the repair was complete
and Rob went to take a look.
Started it up and it didn't sound right,
and he said, "Oh, it just needs running in."
Anyway, I drove the car home down the motorway,
half a mile away from home it broke down
and spilt all the oil all over the road.
After handing over £2,000 Rob wasn't best pleased -
especially when he inspected the engine
and found it was still the same one.
Nick was apologetic and took the car back for a second time.
The car, again, was supposed to be in the garage
for no more than seven days.
I contacted Nick after nine days
and he said they were having a few problems with a few of the belts
and the auxiliaries,
it should be ready for the weekend.
I rang again at the weekend
and it was Monday it was going to be finished,
and then I rang on Monday and it would be Wednesday,
and it just continued on and on and on.
But some of Nick's reasons for the delay
were difficult to argue with.
He can't do anything for me at the minute
because his wife had died over the last two weeks,
and that's why the car hadn't been delivered back.
So, Rob gave him some time -
but as weeks became months,
he got increasingly worried he was never going to get the car back -
and it wasn't just about the money. It also had sentimental value.
I owned a Mitsubishi L200 prior to this one
that I had an accident in, in 2008, and it saved my life.
If I was in any other vehicle, I wouldn't be here today -
and I didn't drive from 2008 to 2012,
and my wife went and bought me this L200 to get me back out on the road,
get me driving again. So, the car is very important.
It's a big part of my life, it's a hell of a big part of my life.
That was the vehicle that got me back on track,
it started getting our life back together.
As Rob's hopes of ever seeing his beloved car again faded,
he began to get desperate.
I contacted Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police
a number of times to see if they would accompany me
to the garage in Birmingham,
so as I could recover my vehicle.
At this point I was told by the police there was nothing they can do
because this is a civil matter,
and unless Nick hands over the keys to that car,
I legally cannot take that car out of that garage,
or else I'll be charged with theft.
Eventually, the garage offered to sell his car on,
and Rob reluctantly agreed,
thinking it was the only way out -
but he never received any money,
apart from a refund of the £2,000 he'd already spent on the repair.
His bank statement
revealed the money came from Rocco Motor Solutions Limited.
Presuming this to be the company behind the trading name
Quality Engine Services,
Rob took its director, Nitin Kareer, to court for the value of the car.
My initial thoughts were, "I can't wait to get this guy in court,"
but that never happened, because he never responded to any letter
or any correspondence from the courts at all.
Rob was awarded a County Court judgment in his favour by default,
and when Mr Kareer didn't pay it,
put the matter in the hands of the sheriffs.
They're most certainly my last hope.
I don't think there's any other way that I can get this sorted.
In Birmingham, Craig is approaching the garage.
There it is, on the left.
There's no name above the door,
and no mention of Quality Engine Services -
but that's no concern to Craig.
There's only one name on his writ, a Mr Nitin Kareer,
and that's who he needs to find.
Hello. Is the boss about?
Can he be contacted at all?
Is it a Nitin Kareer or something?
If you can get him on the phone, mate, I'll have a chat with him.
While the staff member goes off to phone the boss,
Craig is pleased to have verification
that this is indeed the debtor's business.
He's confirmed that our guy is the boss.
It just depends what... who owns the assets here,
whether it's him personally or whether it's a limited company.
We'll see how it goes.
A few minutes later, the man returns
and says the boss is on his way.
-He's coming down.
-Oh, he's coming down.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely, yeah, yeah.
There's so far no indication
of whether Mr Kareer is planning to pay -
but if he isn't, then Craig's best hope of persuading him to do so
will be threatening to remove his assets.
The problem is, anything here owned by his company,
rather than by him personally, would be off limits.
So while he waits for him to arrive, Craig turns detective...
I'm still going to try and look around the place,
try and get some evidence that our guy, as an individual,
trades from here, as opposed to his company.
..and it doesn't take long
before he stumbles across something of interest.
I've located some of the invoices
that they used for recent sort of parts
and it's all in the name of his limited company,
Rocco Motor Solutions, Limited,
so, unfortunately, it's looking like our
guy trades under a limited company here, so not as an individual.
It's bad news for Craig,
as it looks like he'll need to persuade the debtor to pay up
without having any leverage to negotiate with.
Mr Kareer hasn't shown up yet, either,
and soon, one of the mechanics hands Craig a phone.
Who's this? Nitin, yeah?
I'm trying to get in contact with Nitin.
It's an outstanding High Court writ.
It's not Mr Kareer on the phone,
so Craig can't go into the case details
unless they are authorised by the defendant to do so.
Craig emphasises that someone, preferably Mr Kareer,
needs to come to the garage to sort it out...
..and soon, a man arrives.
-Can you come outside?
-I'm not coming outside, I'm waiting here,
I'll have a discussion with you in the office, yeah.
-Yeah, come inside my office.
-Yeah. What relation are you to Nitin?
-I'm his friend.
-You're his friend?
-I'm here under a High Court writ
for a balance outstanding of £6,072.18.
-The claimant is a Mr Robert Gallon.
-Oh, he's took us to court?
-I don't know nothing about it.
I have overtook from Nitin, and we are going to only just do parts,
-we've got nothing else to do.
-Or anything like that.
Despite a staff member telling Craig that Nitin Kareer was the boss,
this man is claiming he's in charge and Nitin no longer works here.
If so, then Craig will have difficulty enforcing the debt -
but later, he finds more clues which cast doubt on the man's story.
I've got invoices proving that he's trading from here.
I'll always try and help people out -
but what I don't like being is being mugged off, do you know what I mean?
Using the County Courts to try to recover money you're owed
One and a half 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.
Sheriffs typically enforce over 1,000 writs every year,
and while each one is different,
enforcement agents often find diplomacy is more effective
than simply threatening to remove everything in sight.
If it's necessary to play the long game, Ken Warby is happy to do so.
He just wants his clients' money back.
We're going to visit a hotel called the Stuart Hotel in Luton.
It's a sizeable hotel, by all accounts.
The hotel has been taken to court by a linen company
over unpaid invoices.
I'd imagine it's for tablecloths and bed linen, et cetera.
The hotel didn't defend the case in court
so a default judgment was issued against it -
but more than three months later it remains unpaid,
and now Ken needs to collect £6,276.
From the outside, the hotel does indeed seem sizeable,
and so looks promising for a payment.
I would imagined there's quite a few assets in there -
bar area, wet stock.
There's always an office, PC equipment, TVs in each room.
So, hopefully, we'll get somewhere.
Ken heads in to tell them those assets are in jeopardy
unless they can pay up.
Hello. I'd like to speak to the MD. Person in charge? If possible.
He's not available at the moment.
-Would you like to come back later on?
-Is he in the building?
-No, he's not. He just left.
-He will be here in one hour, probably.
-About an hour?
Is there any chance you can get him on the phone? It's quite important.
The receptionist does just that,
and moments later she's back with the manager on the line.
What it's about...
You're two minutes away? Brilliant.
All right, I'll see you face-to-face.
Thank you. Cheers, sir.
With the manager on the way,
Ken takes the opportunity to size up the assets on show -
and after years in the trade,
he knows exactly what he's looking for.
Hotel's set out quite nice.
Good-quality dining furniture.
All proper heavy metal, chrome. Leather-backed.
They've got some good equipment down here.
It's always nice to see some assets as soon as you walk in.
True to his word, the manager arrives moments later...
..and Ken follows him into the office.
Right, sir, this is regarding a High Court judgment.
Ken is just about to explain his writ,
but, refreshingly, this time it's not necessary.
You know exactly what this is about, do you?
The manager said the hotel is under new management
and the debt was incurred by the previous owner.
As the debt in the business's name it still needs paying,
and luckily the new owners agree.
Ooh, I was hoping you wouldn't say that.
I was hoping you would say, "Right now".
The court order was issued months ago,
so it's Ken's job to get it paid as soon as possible.
-What can you get me now?
That's fine. What can you pay tomorrow?
It's a bit of a letdown for Ken -
but given that they acknowledge the debt
and seem to have a plan for its repayment,
he doesn't feel the need to threaten to empty the rooms
and force the hotel to close its doors.
Your total due, including charges, £6,276.
-What I need to do is I need to list the assets here.
So, what do you have other than what I've seen in the reception area?
On the ground floor.
There's a kitchen area.
When a debtor can't pay,
sheriffs have the option of agreeing a repayment plan
and taking control of their assets.
As this is a sizeable debt, Ken's list needs to be long -
but luckily there's no shortage of items here.
Glass washer, ice machine.
Bar chiller cabinets.
His comprehensive list is also designed
to make sure the manager knows he really does mean business...
And now I'm just going to do the kitchen
and then I'll do a rough guesstimate
as to how much value we've got there,
before making a decision of whether or not to go to the rooms
and maybe look for the TV sets.
..but by the time he's been through the hotel's kitchen,
he's already got page after page of assets listed.
Satisfied it's enough, he completes the paperwork...
That's £1,000 tomorrow, followed by 5,276.56 next Wednesday.
..and is on his way.
Thanks very much.
I'm sure you'll get that done.
I look forward to it. Cheers.
He hasn't been paid, but Ken's happy he's made the right call for now.
He was really nice, and it's a lovely hotel.
If I was to go in there and start unplugging things,
it would basically shut the place down.
So he's promised me £1,000 tomorrow,
and the balance is going to be paid in six days' time.
He's pretty confident of that, I'm confident that he's confident.
Everyone's happy. I am for now.
Ken's taken the man at his word,
but later he's forced to visit the business for a second time.
You have broken the controlled goods agreement.
So the reason we're here now is for full payment
or removal of goods.
It's as black and as white as that.
In Birmingham, Craig's chasing more than £6,000 at a garage.
A customer, Rob Gallon, put his car in for repair but never got it back.
When he first arrived, Craig thought he had confirmed
that the man he's looking for is in charge here...
Is the boss about?
Is it a Nitin Kareer or something?
..but this man has since arrived, saying he's the boss -
and he's called Mr Ali...
I have overtook from Nitin and we are just going to do parts.
..and now someone else is on the phone.
-Is that Nitin?
-This is Ash.
Hello, Ash. You're taking over the premises, yeah, to sell parts?
Ash says he's Nitin's cousin and, along with Mr Ali,
took over the business six months ago...
..but as Craig flicks through the paperwork on the desk,
he finds Nitin Kareer's name is all over it.
Yeah, these are old letters, they're old letters.
-How many other letters have they got?
-They are old letters.
We haven't got any letters coming in yet.
-That's for the water.
It's still the water, innit?
Their story isn't adding up.
Everything I'm looking at now, at the moment,
is obviously your cousin's details on it.
I know, I appreciate you're saying he's not,
but if you were going to take over a premises,
you'd change the water, you'd change the gas,
you'd change the electric as a matter of course, wouldn't you?
Ash, I'm looking at an invoice here, 27th of September,
addressed to your cousin's company.
That isn't April, is it?
You took over in April, he shouldn't even be trading from here.
Yet I've got invoices proving that he's trading from here.
Although he still hasn't got any proof there are assets here
in the debtor's name personally,
he has at least got the people he's dealing with on the back foot.
Perhaps that'll be enough to ramp up the pressure and get a payment.
You need to get your cousin,
talk to me, and then hopefully I can try and help him out.
I'll always try and help people out,
but what I don't like being is being mugged off. Do you know what I mean?
He's going to call me.
While Craig waits to finally hear from Mr Kareer,
he decides to do a bit more investigating.
I've got every legal right.
Legal rights for what?
-Diligent search, they call it.
-No, you can't.
-Yes, I can.
-No, you can't.
-Yes, I can.
-Yes, I can.
Craig does have the law on his side,
and any attempts to stop his diligent search
could quickly become a matter for the police.
Luckily, the situation calms down,
Mr Ali lets Craig carry on, before again handing him his phone...
Is he on the phone, is he?
..but he is not the elusive Mr Kareer.
Once more, it's his cousin Ash.
He's still saying the debt's got nothing to do with him
and he doesn't want to pay.
As I explained, Ash,
and as I explained to your business partner here, Mr Ali,
I'm here with a court order for six grand, mate,
and my job today is to collect that money
under the terms of the High Court writ of control.
Because money talks, that's the thing.
Finally, Craig's persuasive techniques land on target.
Perhaps realising that he isn't going to go away,
Ash says he owes his cousin some money.
He says he's willing to pay part of the debt for him
and offers £1,000.
Yeah, I'll make a phone call first, yeah, and I'll come back to you.
If that's acceptable, then I'll leave a letter here for your cousin,
but he has to deal with it. This is a personal liability.
He needs to get in contact with our office,
and then he can sort an arrangement out to pay the balance off
over a period of time, if he can't pay it in one go.
Craig checks with his office, and the offer is accepted.
Mr Ali makes the payment on a card, and Craig issues a receipt,
along with the letter for Mr Kareer, asking him to contact the sheriffs
to pay the remainder of the debt.
-Thank you very much.
-Sorry for your...
-No problem at all.
It's not the perfect outcome,
but given that neither the debtor
nor any sign of his assets were present,
Craig's satisfied he's done the best he can.
All in all, I think it's a good result
for the claimant at the moment.
Most of the assets there are in the limited company name,
not personal to our guy.
However, took the £1,000 and best result we could get out of that.
Back in Staffordshire,
Rob Gallon is disappointed
that the sheriffs weren't able to recover the full amount -
but is at least glad to see things moving in the right direction.
It's something I've been fighting this guy for well over 12 months.
We have had some luck.
We've recovered £1,000, so we are getting somewhere with it.
Mr Kareer did subsequently make contact with the sheriffs
and offer to make payments of £40 a week to clear his debt.
However, Mr Gallon rejected this,
opting instead to hold out for a better offer or payment in full.
So far, the sheriffs haven't been able to recover
any more of his money.
Goods and services must meet expectations,
or else the buyer is usually entitled to their money back.
Much of the sheriffs' work concerns cases like these,
and while they might feel they've seen it all,
there are still jobs that throw up surprises.
In the South-east, enforcement agents Lawrence Grix and Kev McNally
are heading into the countryside.
We are in Horsham in West Sussex today.
We're going to West Sussex Livery.
The debt is relating to...
Is that a wind-up?
What is the debt relating to?
Kev can barely believe it,
but the dispute began with the purchase of some horse semen,
as Lawrence explains.
Apparently, our claimant's mare, um,
was due to be impregnated by the debtor's stallion -
I don't know if it was artificial or if they actually covered the mare -
but the mare didn't get pregnant.
Test results on the stallion's semen revealed it was substandard,
and was therefore unlikely to result in a pregnancy.
This is basically the money she paid for the...
..for the duff semen.
It may not be your typical case, but the law works the same nonetheless.
After the mare's owner was refused a refund,
she took West Sussex Livery to court - and won.
That was six months ago, and with costs and fees,
the stables now owes £2,273.
Kev reckons he's got a pretty good idea
of what assets they're likely to find.
There's going to be stuff to remove at a stables, you presume.
I suppose, potentially, horses but, in reality,
that's not going to be happening.
But if that's the only asset they've got, we have to take it.
We're not going to take any horses.
-Oh, this is it, yeah, look, look, look.
They've found it, and they head in to look for the owner,
a woman called Anne Hawes.
But the only signs of life are either equine...
Horses. Big heads.
There's dogs here.
They might be cute, but the sheriffs didn't come here for puppies.
-There's no sign of anybody, is there?
Where is everyone, Lawrence?
-Don't know, mate.
-Do you not think that's odd?
Someone has been here recently. Everything's open,
there's half a dozen horses and the stables are clearly working.
Whether they've made themselves scarce
after seeing the sheriffs arrive, or just popped out for lunch,
without making contact, there's not much Lawrence and Kev can do.
Feel like we're in the Walking Dead.
I can't believe there's nobody here.
They're in a sticky situation.
The animals and equipment here
could well belong to clients of the stables,
and there's no way of knowing what, if anything, belongs to the debtor.
-I don't think anyone's here, Lawrence.
Lawrence has a number for the woman who runs the place,
but gets no answer.
This is a message for Anne Hawes.
My name is Mr Grix. I'm an enforcement agent.
I've got a High Court writ against West Sussex Livery.
I'm actually at the stables at the moment.
Would you be able to ring me back, please,
or return to the stables immediately, please,
so that we can deal with this? Thank you.
Kev makes a final desperate plea to get someone's attention...
HE BEEPS HORN
..but even that goes unheard.
It appears deserted,
but you wouldn't expect them to just disappear,
so we're just going to sit here for a little while
in case somebody comes back -
or, as is sometimes the case, on jobs like this,
the first thing you know is the police turn up.
People put in a call to the police
saying "Oh, there's people on my land,
"there's people doing this, people doing that."
After waiting it out,
there's still no sign of either the police or the debtor,
and, eventually, they have to call it a day.
They take down the registration numbers of the vehicles here
so that they can run some checks.
Lawrence prepares some paperwork, and with nowhere better to leave it,
Kev tucks it under the gate latch as they leave.
Anyone getting in is seeing that.
The job might seem like it's a bit of a 'mare but, in fact,
it turns out to be quite the opposite.
While the sheriffs never managed to meet Ms Hawes in person,
the paperwork does have the desired effect.
Shortly after their visit, she paid the £2,273 owing,
and the claimant has finally got their money back.
Ken Warby is back in Luton.
He's on his way once again to the Stuart Hotel,
which owes more than £6,000 after failing to pay a linen company.
Last time, the manager told Ken he couldn't pay there and then,
and promised to do so within the week -
but the money hasn't arrived.
The original payment plan was
that he was going to pay me £1,000 the day after -
which he never did, that took about a week -
and the balance within six days.
Well, we are where we are now.
14 days later, he's only paid the £1,000.
Previously, Ken gave the manager the benefit of the doubt,
but this time Ken won't compromise.
The leverage we've got is that he's signed a controlled goods agreement.
If he doesn't pay, it's my intention to remove the items.
When a CGA is broken,
the sheriffs can return at any time to remove the assets -
no ifs, no buts.
Once again, he's led into the office,
where, to his surprise, the manager hands him a payment receipt.
-This is a receipt you've got for online payment.
You made yesterday, for £1,000.
The problem is...
you have broken the controlled goods agreement.
So the reason we're here now
is for full payment or removal of goods.
As black and as white as that.
And that's not the only bad news for the manager...
The problem you've also got is that because I'm here now
to remove goods, it's gone up.
So, with the £2,000 you've already paid...
..the amount you owe now is £5,901.09.
High Court costs. Very expensive.
..but the manager says he doesn't have £5,000
and hands his phone over to Ken.
Who am I talking to?
You're his friend?
The man on the phone says the hotel is trying to come to an arrangement
with the claimant to clear the debt.
The last contact we had with the claimant
was that he had given it to us to deal with.
It's in our hands and, as far as he's concerned,
he wants his payment.
But the man is still hoping to do a deal,
and says they can clear the debt in a couple of months.
No, it's not acceptable, sir.
No, sir. No, sir. We require payment in full now -
and unfortunately it's gone up, because we're here to remove goods.
Yeah, it has gone up to the tune of £5,901,
and it'll go up a further £300,
should a van turn up here to remove goods.
With a long list of hotel assets
that now technically belong to the court,
Ken wants full payment - and it's not up for negotiation.
I'm here now to remove goods now.
So rather than us waste any more time,
please start making these phone calls now
to get this money to me now. OK? I'll wait.
No, I'm not going to go away and come back again, I'm here now.
Please start making the phone calls,
I'll wait here for the payments.
Believe me, the last thing I want to do
is start removing goods from here.
But that's exactly what will happen if he doesn't pay -
and Ken reckons the threat is working.
It's gone from two months to four hours. Um...
So if he can get the money that quick,
I'm pretty confident we're going to get paid on this.
We'll wait around. He's going to make a few phone calls.
Ken makes himself comfortable in the dining room,
and just ten minutes later,
it seems things are moving in the right direction.
You've got three grand coming, you've got a grand in your pocket,
so you want just shy of two grand now.
-You are waiting for.
The problem is, that's not going to arrive for another few hours.
Ken's heard this man's promises before and is understandably wary...
..but it does seem like the threat
of imminent removal of goods has sunk in.
What he's saying to me is he's got £1,000 in his back pocket,
which I didn't know he had when I first got in here.
He's also contacted someone that is just about to transfer
£3,000 into his account.
So, in effect, he's got around about four.
He needs another £1,900,
and he's going to get someone else to help him out,
transfer it to his account.
However, that person is not going to be able to get that sorted
for a few hours yet, so I think it's a question of waiting around.
If I leave now then the pressure's off,
so I'm going to stay around and have a coffee, I think.
But in the end Ken doesn't even get the chance to enjoy a cappuccino.
A few minutes later,
the manager calls him back into the office once more
to tell him he has raised the full amount.
That didn't take long, did it?
Thank you very much.
When he arrived this morning, it didn't look like the hotel
was going to be able to come up with the money today -
but Ken's tough stance has been rewarded
and he's leaving with payment in full.
It's gone from £2,000 tomorrow, and the balance in a couple of months,
to immediate payment on a debit card.
I thought I'd get paid.
I didn't quite think I'd get paid as quick as that.
In Kent, enforcement agents Lawrence Grix and Kev McNally
are on the road. They have got a High Court writ
to collect a debt owed by a car dealer.
Right, today we're in Sittingbourne.
We're going to West Car Sales.
We're looking for £1,452.
I presume the debt is relating to the sale of a second-hand vehicle.
The claimant in the case is Kieron Kelly.
He first came across West Car Sales
when he was looking for a cheap second-hand car
and checked out the stock
at a few of his local dealers.
I saw a car that was appealing to me, it was within my price range.
The car was a Renault Megane.
It was black, it was a five-door car.
We have four grandchildren,
so of course, from time to time we pick the children up from school.
So what we needed was a car that would be able to accommodate
both myself and my partner and the grandkids.
Kieron went to the dealers and met the salesman there, a Mr Jeff Lee.
He seemed quite trustworthy, so I took the car out on a test drive
It wasn't great, but, at the end of the day, for £850, you know,
you are not going to get a great, great car -
but it seemed to be good value for money.
Kieron may not have been looking for a top-of-the-range car,
but there was one thing he was adamant about.
He didn't want anything
that had previously been in an accident or written off.
I had had a bad experience with a previous car,
so I asked the dealer specifically,
"Was the car that I was buying subject to a write-off?"
He just quite simply said no.
So Kieron bought it and drove it happily for several months,
until one day he scraped the front of the car
on the curb while parking
and was surprised by the amount of damage it caused.
The whole front end, ie the whole bumper,
was detached and it was hanging.
When Kieron got home he called the AA,
and when they took a look they found clues
that the car had in fact been in a previous accident after all.
They knocked the door and said,
"Look, I think you need to get your logbook."
So I came back into my home,
got the logbook and clearly on the logbook
it had stated that the car was subject to a write-off.
I was stunned, absolutely stunned.
Stunned, shocked, angry, annoyed.
The obvious thing to do was get in touch with West Car Sales.
I wanted to reject the vehicle and seek a full refund.
For some weeks, Kieron chased for a refund, but it wasn't forthcoming.
The car, meanwhile, was marooned on the driveway,
where it still remains...
Having been told that this car was potentially dangerous,
I didn't drive the car any more.
..and after still getting nowhere with West Car Sales,
Kieron took the company to court...
I supplied 15-19 pages' worth of correspondence,
together with text messages and all the communication.
So I was extremely confident of the outcome.
..but just moments before the hearing, Mr Lee arrived,
wanting to make a deal to pay Kieron back in instalments.
Kieron accepted, and the agreement was rubber-stamped by the judge.
His first payment was due to myself of £100 on the 1st of December.
He failed to pay it, and he said he had family issues.
So I decided to extend that for a week to give him a bit of grace,
and, lo and behold, he failed again.
Kieron's now had enough of being messed about
and has transferred his case up to the High Court.
Having seen the programme on the TV
I'm just really hopeful that they get the outcome I need.
Lawrence and Kev are about to arrive at West Car Sales -
and, ever the optimist,
Kev is hopeful of getting Mr Kelly's money...
I've had a look at the site online while I was doing my research,
and there's quite a few cars on the front here, cars and vans.
So hopefully they'll be owned by our debtor company
and we'll be able to get this debt paid.
..and as they pull into the garage,
it seems Kev's research was spot on...
There are a lot of vehicles here.
It goes a way back, doesn't it?
..and before they even manage to park,
a man pulls up alongside wanting to know why the sheriffs are here.
-West Car Sales, we're here for.
It is you, is it?
It's the man who sold Kieron his car,
and it seems he doesn't dispute he owes the money.
In fact, he says he wants to pay.
The problem is, you've got assets.
We're not ordered out to collect your money,
we're ordered by the writ to take control of your goods.
All you can do is pay in full, because you've got the stock.
Although Mr Lee admits he sold Mr Kelly a car,
he's now saying he sold it under his own name,
not the garage's, where he's just an employee -
but that's not what it says on Mr Kelly's receipt,
nor on Lawrence's writ.
West Car Sales have got all the cars that are here?
Unfortunately, that's who we're here for.
It's their name on the writ,
so any of these cars that belong to West Car Sales
are likely to go to clear the debt.
At the moment it stands at £1,452.
You know, one of these cars would cover it.
The owner of West Car Sales is away, is he?
Mr Lee might not want his employer's cars to be taken,
but the sheriffs can't just ignore the paperwork from the courts.
Fair play to you for sticking your hands up and saying,
"Right, it should actually be me,"
but we can't deal with it as being you.
So if you want to pay it on their behalf, again, fair play to you.
We can give you a little bit of time
to try and cobble the money together.
While Mr Lee is cooperating,
so far he still isn't showing any indication
that he's about to come up with the money -
so Lawrence ups the ante.
If it comes to removal, there's another 1,300 quid going on it.
It's going to virtually double.
No, we don't want that.
So that's what I'm saying,
I can give you a little bit of time to get this money together.
Yeah, we're not talking days.
Lawrence's strategy works.
Mr Lee suddenly produces the company's card
and offers to make a payment.
Right, let's see if we've got a signal.
You have to know your PIN number or you can't do it.
Unless you can go do it online.
Have you got online facilities here?
Mr Lee can't use the card, and heads into his office,
leaving Lawrence and Kev to ponder their next move.
Yeah, it's a bit of a shame he hasn't got the PIN number
to the account here,
otherwise we would have had a big part of it paid off.
So we'll just see what developments there are now.
The development is that Mr Lee immediately returns,
and this time he's brought cash.
-Do you want to hop in the other side and count this, Kev?
Mr Lee has settled the balance in full,
and he gives his side of the story.
I sold a car to a chap, it must have been about eight or nine months ago.
Chap had it for six months.
It had been involved in an accident, I wasn't aware of this.
The chap then came back and saw us,
and obviously gave us the point of view that he wanted a refund.
Wasn't in a position to do so at the time,
because obviously we wanted to have the car checked.
He didn't allow us to do so, and here we are today.
If you've done wrong, you've got to pay for it.
That went very well, really.
There was a point where we didn't think
he was going to be able to come up with the money
cos he didn't have the PIN number for the credit card he had,
but then he went off and appeared with cash.
So...happy days. Another job done.
And Lawrence isn't the only one who's pleased.
Excellent result, it's been a great day.
I'm just pleased to say it's all done, it's all dusted.
We can now just move on and enjoy the rest of our lives.
If you've won a County Court judgment and haven't been paid,
for £66 you can get the case transferred up to the High Court,
which will issue a writ for enforcement by the sheriffs.
My job is to collect in full or remove goods.
They've got special powers of entry...
We don't have to take any notice of your security protocol, I'm afraid.
..and there's no limit on the size of the debts they can pursue.
If they're successful,
they'll recover your money and costs from the debtor...
Have you got the cash now, then?
..as well as their own fees, which are set by the government.
She's paid, the judgment is settled.
Thank you very much.
If the sheriffs can't get your money,
they'll ask you to pay a fee of £75 plus VAT.
and Tommy and Craig are on the outskirts of Birmingham.
They are looking for a man who runs a sandwich business
and who owes thousands of pounds to a former worker.
We're off to go and see Mr Trevor Johnson.
He trades as TJ's Sandwiches.
This one's an employment tribunal case,
so it's clearly a dispute between employer and employee.
The claimant says she'd worked for Mr Johnson for ten years
before he made her redundant without notice.
He also made unauthorised deductions from her wages
and owes her holiday pay.
Mr Johnson didn't attend the hearing
and the tribunal ruled against him by default.
He still hasn't paid, and owes £4,036.
As the address on the writ appears to be
for some kind of industrial unit,
rather than Mr Johnson's home address,
the sheriffs are hopeful of finding suitable assets.
I think this is actually where they prep and make the sandwiches.
Hopefully, we'll get the employee the money
that the court has said that she deserves.
The sheriffs reach their destination,
and head in in search of Mr Johnson.
-Is Mr Johnson about?
Can he be contacted at all?
Has anybody got his number?
Who's in charge whilst he's not here?
Nobody has got his telephone number at all?
Who would you phone in an emergency?
You just deal with it yourselves?
My name is Mr Wild, and we are High Court enforcement agents.
We're here today to execute a court order, a High Court writ of control.
So we need to get in contact with Mr Johnson,
as a matter of urgency.
But just then a man emerges from the back.
Are you Mr Johnson?
Hello, Mr Johnson.
My name's Mr Wild.
It seems Mr Johnson was here all along -
and he now excuses himself momentarily to switch off a machine.
Well, there you go.
All of a sudden, he turns up at the back.
When Mr Johnson returns, he asks our cameraman to leave.
Inside, Tommy and Craig explain
they're here on behalf of his former employee,
and their writ empowers them to collect just over £4,000,
otherwise, they'll have to remove goods to cover the value instead.
Thankfully, Mr Johnson knows all about the debt,
and the sheriffs are spared the task
of working out whether any of the vehicles outside belong to him.
He agrees to pay, and half an hour later, Tommy and Craig are leaving,
slightly surprised about how straightforward it was
considering the reception they got when they arrived.
We've gained peaceable access,
met the workers who initially said that our guy wasn't there -
but, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, he appeared from the back.
His wife was actually in the office at the front of the building,
so explained the situation and ultimately we got paid in full.
Every year, 3.9 million motor insurance claims
are made in the UK as a result of accidents, theft or damage.
99% of these claims are accepted and subsequently paid out,
but occasionally claimants find themselves
unable to get the money they're owed.
Lawrence and Kev are heading towards the Sussex coast,
to deal with one of these cases.
We're off to Hastings Insurance Services Limited.
We are looking for £4,575.
The claimant is Bill Young from Ashington in Northumberland.
It all began with an outing to the local takeaway
with wife Christine and their kids.
We got in the car, headed down the road,
and just as I was approaching the roundabout,
the guy came out from the left.
I did see it coming,
but it was right at the last second
and there was no way I could get out of the way.
The other driver smashed into the side of Bill's car,
writing it off and leaving the family shaken and hurt.
Christine suffered whiplash,
and it soon became clear that so did their 15-year-old daughter, Elise.
My daughter realised at school when she was sitting
on the high chairs in the science lab,
cos she had no back support.
She had to go through physio and stuff like that.
But the good news
was that the Youngs' insurance policy was supportive.
They said they would claim costs and compensation
from the other driver's insurers, Hastings.
The driver had said it was his fault,
so we had nothing really to worry about -
but as it went on, it started to drag on and drag on.
It seemed that Hastings wasn't going to pay out just like that.
I was quite surprised,
because it's quite a big insurance company
and I thought it would just be...
they would pay up straightaway, sort of thing.
Weeks became months, and the situation
was becoming increasingly worrying for the family.
I was just stressed all the time,
ringing up the insurance company just about every other day.
I would send one thing
and then they would say, "We need something else."
Well, I thought, "Well why didn't you say that in the first place?"
A few months after the accident,
the Youngs did receive the pay-out for their written-off car,
but it took a year before Christine got compensation for her injuries -
and Elise's whiplash was even less straightforward.
It turned out she'd have to go to court.
The guy who was representing the other company,
he basically just agreed they would pay out.
There was no questions asked.
It just seemed to be a waste of time.
The Youngs could at least expect the matter to finally be resolved -
but 18 months after the accident, they're still waiting.
Now the Youngs' insurers have decided to take the final step.
They've obtained a High Court writ against Hastings Insurance
and engaged the sheriffs.
We didn't expect this, so we'll see what happens from here,
but hopefully we'll finally get what...
-What we deserve.
-..what we need. Yeah.
Lawrence and Kev are soon to arrive
at Hastings Insurance Services Limited.
It's up this road somewhere, I believe.
There it is - Conquest House, Hastings Direct.
Lawrence and Kev park up and head into the building...
-They'll rumble you, Pete, straight away.
..but our cameraman doesn't get far.
We wait outside, while Lawrence explains.
My name's Mr Grix. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.
We've got a High Court writ against Hastings Insurance Services Limited.
The sheriffs' unannounced arrival causes some confusion.
Lawrence and Kev don't know any of the specifics of the case,
all they've got is a writ against the company
with Mr Young's name on it, and no-one here knows who he is.
One of the issues they've got at the moment
is looking for the person in the claim.
Once they find out who that is,
they'll be back down and sorting out.
They're familiar with these scenarios.
I think with such a big company,
they must get a few of these things sort of slip through the net.
The sheriffs can demand the writ is paid regardless,
but companies are usually reluctant to reach for their credit cards
until they know what they're paying for -
so Lawrence is prepared to give them a bit of time,
rather than threatening to remove assets from the office.
Another 45 minutes passes before, eventually, he's out.
Apparently they'd already agreed a settlement
and the solicitor should have paid it,
so it's actually the solicitors that have paid it now.
It took a bit longer than we would've liked, really,
but sometimes it does.
They've been paid the full £4,575.
18 months after their car accident,
the Youngs have finally got the compensation they were owed.
Well, we finally heard from the sheriffs.
It's good news.
They're getting the money, so that's great.
We would have preferred that we didn't need to claim
and we didn't need it, but that's what these things are for.
Tommy and Craig are back in the van, on their way to another job.
they're about to visit a man who owes a substantial sum of money.
So we're in the suburbs of Birmingham again today.
We're off to go and see a Mr Kev Dooley.
Mr Dooley was taken to court by another man several months ago.
He didn't defend the case
and a judgment was issued against him by default.
He now owes £7,381.
The sheriffs have been trying to contact Mr Dooley,
but with no success.
We've been there numerous times before,
had no response at all to our letters,
however there's a number of vehicles...
..in our guy's name,
so the intention is today to go and remove them,
if he's not going to pay the bill.
They reach Mr Dooley's home address,
and sure enough, two of the vehicles they were hoping to find are there.
There's a Volkswagen van...
That's free of finance.
So we need to get a clamp on that.
..and a Vauxhall hatchback.
The sheriffs get straight to work.
Tommy clamps the van, while Craig tries the door.
As usual, there's no answer.
There's got to be someone here, hasn't there?
There's all these cars here.
I've got a phone number.
Try ringing him.
He does - but it goes straight to answerphone.
Hello, this is a message for Mr Kev Dooley.
I need you to contact me as soon as possible, Mr Dooley. Thank you.
Let's order the truck.
-It's all we can do.
-It's all we can do, isn't it?
With Mr Dooley owing upwards of £7,000,
Craig presses ahead and books in the removal of both vehicles.
It's done. Sending two vehicles.
The sheriffs retreat to the van to wait it out -
but soon Tommy spots a young man
who he thinks is taking an unusual amount of interest
in what they're up to...
See the red door?
He's been stood out the front of it watching us the whole time,
and he's only just gone in there.
-Could be the son.
..and shortly afterwards,
the person Tommy's seen comes over to speak to them,
accompanied by an older man.
Is it Mr Dooley?
-Yeah, he is.
The man says he's just a neighbour
and the debtor is apparently away for another month.
Tommy explains he's a High Court enforcement agent
with a writ to execute.
The problem we've got at the moment, you see,
is they want us to remove vehicles today, which are registered to him,
which obviously we don't want to do,
we'd rather speak to him and get it sorted out,
but we need to talk to him, really.
The only way is money.
It's not a small amount. I can't discuss the details.
Is it your father? Oh, OK.
He would have had letters here.
Craig was right.
The young man is Mr Dooley's son -
but he's not in a position to stump up several thousand pounds
on his dad's behalf...
They can't really help out, to facilitate the payment,
to stop the vehicles going,
so unfortunately it's a bit of a bad situation
and it looks like they're still going to be going.
..but just as the sheriffs are gearing up for the removal,
a call comes through from the debtor's mother.
She says that she owns the van,
so doesn't think the sheriffs can remove it -
but she's not able to provide proof of her purchase right now.
She's saying that she's purchased the vehicle for him,
to put into his business -
but as we've said, in the absence of proof,
at this late stage it won't prevent the removal from taking place.
Before long, the first removal truck arrives
and the logistical challenge begins.
The van turns out to be harder than expected
thanks to its long wheelbase.
I don't think it'll go on.
Backwards, it doesn't fit, so they try a new strategy...
If he takes it from the front,
it will be shorter at the front and you'll be able to get it on,
and have the back end sticking off the back.
..and this time, they have more success.
The car, on the other hand, is a different story altogether.
The issue is the wheel.
Obviously, with a steering lock on like that, to drag it,
it's going to be a nightmare.
Drag it from there, I think.
The Vauxhall is unceremoniously heaved up onto the truck.
It's not pretty, but it works -
and the car is also soon on its way.
-Cheers, thanks. Take care, mate.
Both vehicles will be held for seven days.
If Mr Dooley doesn't come up with the money,
and provided the vehicles do belong to him,
then they'll be sold
and the claimant will finally receive the money they're owed.
Yeah, a bit of a result.
We've only been here just over the two hours.
We made some phone calls
and tried to make contact at the address, nothing.
So it resulted in two vehicles going.
Following filming, Mr Dooley didn't pay any money towards his debt
and his Vauxhall has been sold at auction.
Mr Dooley told us that he believes he doesn't owe any money
and that the case against him was unfounded.
He says he didn't respond to the court paperwork
because his name was spelt incorrectly,
so he didn't believe the letters were for him.
He says he hasn't appealed the judgment
because of the costs involved.
Sheriffs Lawrence and Kev are on the hunt at a stables for the manager who owes money. But apart from the horses, the place appears deserted, so will they find the debtor?
Tommy and Craig decide to remove not one, but two vehicles from a debtor's driveway.
Sheriff Ken won't take no for an answer when he arrives with a High Court writ at a hotel with a debt to pay. Plus a customer took his car to a garage for repair but he hasn't seen it since. Can the sheriffs get his money back?