Episode 4 The Sheriffs Are Coming


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Episode 4

Series following high court enforcement officers. Sheriffs confront a farmer who hasn't paid a local electrician who supplied special lighting equipment.


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Transcript


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-Meet the sheriffs.

-My name's Mr Gricks.

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My colleague and I are enforcement agents.

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We're here with a High Court order today.

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They work for the High Court, and if a judge says you're owed money,

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it's the sheriffs' job to go and get it.

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-Hey, all the keys.

-I'm going to be calling a locksmith.

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They can demand payment on the spot...

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What can you pay us now?

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-You're going to get the cash, are you?

-Are you paying the bill?

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..or remove assets instead.

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You've got 30 minutes to make the payment.

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Then we'll start removing stuff from the building.

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

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Obstructing their work can be a criminal offence.

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I wouldn't do that if I were you.

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-Don't lie to me.

-No mess tins.

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Every year, sheriffs in England and Wales

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recover unpaid debts totalling more than £18 million.

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Coming up,

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Rob and Gerald have a debt to recover,

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and don't intend to let a locked door get in their way.

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Oh. I'm starting to worry about your background.

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When Sam Peacock supplied a farmer with lighting

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for his pheasant pens, he didn't get the payment he was due.

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I said, "I'm going to have to take you to court if you don't pay me."

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He said, "Do what you've got to do."

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So Mike and Billy head to the country to track down the debtor.

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I've got a High Court writ.

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At the moment, the balance outstanding is £9,287.

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Would you like to go away?

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Lawrence is pursuing a Spanish airline for unpaid compensation.

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But it's siesta time, and payment's delayed again.

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I'm not here to wait an hour and 45 minutes

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so somebody can come off their lunch break in Spain and make a payment.

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And while Jon smartens up...

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Tommy turns up the heat.

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2,688.50.

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How would you like to pay that?

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Today, High Court enforcement agents Billy Evans and Mike Perkins

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are heading out of the city

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to a remote location in the Essex countryside.

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This morning, we're off to Braintree to speak to a Mr Patrick Gardner.

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We believe it's a farm.

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Certainly, where we are now, it's quite rural,

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so it's looking good.

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Billy's been doing his homework.

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It looks as if the farm in question specialises in a particular pastime

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synonymous with an English country way of life.

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They breed, erm...

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-birds.

-Pheasants.

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Pheasants, to be precise.

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Mr Gardner failed to settle an invoice for lighting equipment

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that was fitted in his pheasants' breeding pens.

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The debt's just over £9,000.

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Obviously, we're hoping to go there and find some farm machinery...

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..possibly some livestock.

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For Mike, country sports like shooting, stalking and hunting

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are things that he's grown up around, and enjoys.

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I don't mind a bit of pheasant shooting.

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My dad used to have a pheasant shoot.

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He also is a deerstalker, so, yeah, I've been brought up around game,

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eating, obviously, rabbit, venison, pigeon.

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Billy's happy tracking down people who owe money

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and getting them to pay,

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but when it comes to blood sports, he's a bit more squeamish.

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I'm quite soft inside when it comes to that kind of stuff.

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I don't mind a bit of fishing.

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Catch the fish, take them home, eat them.

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But, yeah, not a fan of killing things.

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But when Mike thinks about game, he thinks about his dinner.

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I like a bit of pheasant casserole. That's a nice one.

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Big, chunky carrots in it, some big potatoes,

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new potatoes. Yeah, lovely.

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And at least you know where your meat's come from, as well.

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Patrick Gardner was taken to court by electrician Sam Peacock,

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who supplied the lighting for his pheasant pens.

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Sam first met Mr Gardner at a shoot organised by Mr Gardner himself.

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My friends and I go to quite a few sort of shoot days

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to different places up and down the country.

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There's quite a lot of banter in it, and it's a good social life,

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and it's a great day out, really.

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That shoot has stuck in Sam's memory for more than one reason.

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We had a good day when we were out shooting.

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Everyone had a good laugh - it was a well organised day.

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I treated my girlfriend's dad, at the time,

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and while I was there, I actually asked him

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if I could have her hand in marriage.

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I'm not sure it was a great idea to ask him

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while he had a gun in his hand, but...

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he didn't shoot me, so it was all good!

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Emma's father gave his approval, and Sam was delighted.

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On the same day, he also met Patrick Gardner for the first time.

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He seemed a nice enough guy.

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He produces eggs for pheasants, so he has big lines of pens

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where the birds sit on the eggs, or lay the eggs.

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He wanted the light to come on earlier in the day

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and later on in the evening.

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It increases the production by about 50%.

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A week later, and by now officially engaged to Emma,

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electrician Sam went round to see Mr Gardner

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to quote for the work.

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He decided that he'd like to do all of the labour himself,

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and I'd just supply the parts to him, which is what we did.

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We got them delivered over to his,

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he fitted it all over, and we went over there,

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and just sort of checked everything was working,

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and he was completely happy when we left the job.

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It was a good deal for Mr Gardner.

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But there wasn't much profit in it for Sam.

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Wasn't making a big amount of money out of doing it,

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it was almost, really, as a favour to him.

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I can use my discount with my wholesalers to get it cheaper

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than what he could get it.

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I make a couple of hundred quid, save him some money, but, yeah,

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didn't work out quite like that.

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Sam paid for the lighting equipment up front,

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so when he submitted his invoice, he expected prompt payment.

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After I first sent him the invoice, the first 30 days rolled by.

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I sent him an e-mail, he said he was happy with everything.

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The new lamps are in, they're all working fine.

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So, I just sent him another reminder e-mail.

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He never responded, so I started to ring him up.

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He'd then promise, "Oh, I've got some money coming in,

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"I'll pay you on Friday."

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And then, "I'll pay you on Monday" and then a week later it'd be,

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"Oh, I'll pay you next week."

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I think I had to ring him about 12 times in one day

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to get him to answer the phone.

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It just never came - I never received anything.

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Sam says the debt has put his business at risk.

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It's been a real issue, financially, with cash flow.

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Running a small business is tough as it is.

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Dealing with the cash flow, employing people, paying suppliers,

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and I've had to put them on credit cards,

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and I've been paying interest on them credit cards,

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because the money that should have been there in 30 days -

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it's been nearly a year.

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Pull.

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GUNSHOT

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His fiancee, Emma, says it has taken its toll on Sam.

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Sam's been quite frustrated.

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It was quite a lot of money

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for his business to have to cope with not having.

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And so he's found it very stressful.

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You kind of expect that everyone is the same as you are,

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in the way that...

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if you have some work done or buy some parts, you pay for them.

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In desperation, Sam called Patrick Gardner and gave him an ultimatum.

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I said "I'm going to have to take you to court if you don't pay me."

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And he said, "Do what you've got to do."

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So, reluctantly, Sam did just that.

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I wasn't really sure what to expect.

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In the end, it was just myself and the judge in the room -

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there was no-one else in there.

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Mr Gardner didn't attend the hearing,

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but claimed that the money was owed not by him personally,

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but by a limited company which had since been dissolved.

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But Sam said he had no dealings with any company,

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only with Mr Gardner.

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At the point that I quoted,

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he was quite happy just to do it between us two.

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I didn't even know the company was in existence.

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The judgment went in Sam's favour, but the money still didn't arrive.

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So he's decided to call in the sheriffs.

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I'd seen the programme on the telly, actually,

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and how well and easily they get their money.

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They've got the power just to go in there and take it,

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rather than endless letters and 30 days here and 60 days there.

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I'm confident that they will be able to do it.

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If they can't, I don't really know where I'm going to go from there.

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Sam's fiancee, Emma, has a special heartfelt plea for the sheriffs.

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I just hope that the sheriffs can finally get the money

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that Sam is owed back to him.

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It's taken a long time,

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and I'd just like to have happy Sam back again.

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The amount owed, including fees, is...

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It's right here where that sign is.

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The sheriffs are approaching Patrick Gardner's farm,

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and are on the lookout for assets they can remove.

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Here we go. There's a Range Rover straight ahead.

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An old army four-tonner.

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There's also a Mercedes convertible

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parked outside one of the farm buildings.

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As they pull up and get out of the van, a man appears.

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Hello, sir, I'm looking for a Patrick Gardner.

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It's Mr Gardner himself.

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He asks the sheriffs if they can come back another time.

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We won't be coming back another time, sir, sorry.

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He says he has a meeting, and can't see them today.

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We're here on a High Court writ, sir.

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Mr Gardner may have a meeting, but if he doesn't pay the money he owes,

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the sheriffs will start removing assets.

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Hi, sir, so what it is, we're High Court enforcement agents.

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-Are you Patrick Gardner?

-Yes.

-You are?

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Right, I've got a High Court writ.

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At the moment, the balance outstanding is £9,287.

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This came through when I was away...

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-Right.

-..and I've actually written down today

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all the bits and pieces, cos it's going to be appealed.

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Mr Gardner says he's applying to get the judgment set aside,

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which, if successful, would mean the case having to be re-heard.

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But that won't stop today's enforcement.

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-Right, OK.

-That's fine, sir, but we're still here

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-on a High Court writ.

-Well, it might be a High Court writ.

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Would you like to go away?

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At this point, Mr Gardner asks our cameraman

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to stop filming and to leave, which he does.

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Right, leave my property, then.

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Mr Gardner says the money is owed by a limited company

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that has since been dissolved.

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But the sheriffs have a High Court writ

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directly against Mr Gardner,

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and not against the now dissolved company.

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Mike and Billy are demanding payment in full.

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The gentleman's a bit reluctant to pay at the minute.

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He's advised that he's trying to get the judgment set aside,

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so, therefore, he doesn't want to make a full payment.

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The sheriffs are becoming impatient.

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They give Mr Gardner a 40-minute deadline to pay up,

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or they'll start removing assets.

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Mike starts to count down the time using his smartphone.

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Yeah, it's quite effective, cos he does get his phone out,

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and kind of shove it in people's faces,

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so he's really shown the gentleman, just a minute ago,

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that the timer is set, and he's already a minute into it.

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Mr Gardner goes back into his meeting,

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but a short while later, he reappears.

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We've had a discussion, gone round in circles again,

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but he has decided to make the payment.

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That's where we are at the moment.

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He's looking now at, obviously, getting the funds together

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so he can make the transfer.

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We've had two gentlemen come up to us today, got a bit funny with us,

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the usual stuff that we get, "How do you sleep at night?"

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"You're the scum of the earth." Obviously, we've spoken to them,

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and told them, look, end of the day, we're just here doing a job,

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and if people paid their bills, then we wouldn't be here.

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Yeah, it's calm and relaxed at the moment.

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We're just, obviously, waiting on the defendant now

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to make the payment.

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Shortly after the 40-minute deadline expires,

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the payment in full is completed.

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We've had a cracking result today.

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We've had a payment in full within 40-50 minutes,

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nine grand paid, bank transfer,

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and then £200 and something in cash, weren't it?

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£287 cash.

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Job done, get onto the next one.

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As for the pheasants, they've wisely kept their heads down.

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We saw one pheasant, that was on the way in.

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But apparently he had 30,000 somewhere,

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but where, I don't know.

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The successful enforcement is good news for Sam Peacock.

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More than a year after he first met Patrick Gardner,

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he's finally got the money he's owed in full.

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I'd like to thank the sheriffs for going in and helping me out

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and collecting my money. They did a great job.

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They've managed to retrieve all the money that was owed to me.

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I've been able to pay off my suppliers,

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and my cash flow's gone back down to where it should be.

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And it's a happy ending all round for Sam, because, 12 months on,

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he's not only got the money, he's also tied the knot.

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-We've got married.

-We got married at a church in the village...

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-At a church.

-..where...

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I've been brought up in the village next to here.

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The reception was at my parents' house, so it was nice and local.

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We had a good day, so...

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glad we did that!

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SHE LAUGHS

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Patrick Gardner told us...

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Using the county courts to try and recover money you're owed

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isn't difficult.

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

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involving anything from faulty goods

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or poor workmanship to unpaid invoices.

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

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

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and you may have to attend a court hearing.

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If you're successful, a County Court Judgment, or CCJ,

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will be issued against the debtor.

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

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Today, High Court enforcement agents Rob Foster and Gerald Anderson

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are pursuing a debt at a London car dealer.

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It's likely there will be plenty of assets available

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to help clear the debt, but Rob and Gerald know from experience

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that establishing who owns those assets isn't always easy.

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So, this morning, we're heading down to SK Motors in west London.

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They sold a vehicle to our claimant.

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It turned out to be a faulty vehicle -

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gearbox had failed on it.

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The car broke down after three days,

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so the buyer returned it to the dealer and demanded his money back.

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He didn't get it, so he took SK Motors to court.

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A judgment was issued against them,

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but the claimant still didn't get his money back,

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so the sheriffs have been called in to recover the debt.

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Today, SK Motors owes...

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We're going to see if we can find SK Motors,

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and see what assets they've got,

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see if they're willing to pay it in full to avoid a removal.

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Should be right over there somewhere.

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The right address is easy to find,

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but the sign says AK, and not SK Motors.

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-What Motors is it?

-AK Motors.

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To confuse matters further, there's also a website address,

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and that says SK Motors.

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The sheriffs park outside and go into the premises

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to find out who's really trading here.

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Two or three of these cars would easily cover the debt,

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but only if they belong to the debtor company, SK Motors.

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The sheriffs have been given a name for the owner of SK Motors,

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a Mr Mohammed Ishtiaq.

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Hello, sir, you all right?

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I'm an enforcement agent from the sheriffs' office.

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I was looking for a Mohammed Ishtiaq...

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Yeah, of SK Motors. Is he about?

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Can you get hold of him on the phone?

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Yeah? You've got his number, have you?

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Do you want to try and give him a ring, explain we're here,

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see if you can speak to him? Cos this is his business, isn't it?

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The man seems to know Mr Ishtiaq, and agrees to call him.

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Meanwhile, Gerald is doing a bit of detective work.

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The S has been changed to an A.

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You can see that the A has been hand painted on.

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It's been a quick change.

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The new sign isn't very convincing.

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And there's more evidence that SK Motors is still here.

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You can see an outline of the S there, underneath the A.

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Gerald spots some intriguing paperwork through the office window.

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There's also credit card receipts in the window there.

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All done with SK Motors, Rob.

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The man on the forecourt hands the phone to Rob. It's the boss.

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He's insistent SK Motors is no longer trading here.

0:17:000:17:04

Yeah, but all the receipt tills and stuff, as of a couple of days ago,

0:17:040:17:08

that we can see through the window at reception,

0:17:080:17:10

are all still in the name of SK Motors.

0:17:100:17:12

Is there anything in the office, any paperwork in the office,

0:17:120:17:14

proving that it's AK Motors at the address?

0:17:140:17:17

Rob wants to know who owns the cars.

0:17:170:17:20

Can you provide all the purchase invoices for the vehicles, etc?

0:17:200:17:23

The man on the phone doesn't seem able to provide any paperwork,

0:17:230:17:26

but he does insist the cars belong to AK Motors.

0:17:260:17:30

Rob is not convinced.

0:17:300:17:32

You can say that, I understand that,

0:17:320:17:33

but we've seen no proof to that effect.

0:17:330:17:37

We believe SK Motors is still trading at the address.

0:17:370:17:39

In situations like this,

0:17:390:17:41

the sheriffs are entitled to take control of goods

0:17:410:17:44

they reasonably believe belong to the debtor.

0:17:440:17:47

The onus is on the debtor to prove otherwise,

0:17:470:17:50

and stop the goods being removed,

0:17:500:17:52

and that's the bombshell Rob's about to drop.

0:17:520:17:54

We're going to take a couple of the vehicles. All right?

0:17:560:17:59

We'll leave... Yeah, we'll take a couple of the vehicles.

0:17:590:18:01

We'll leave you the relevant documentation.

0:18:010:18:03

The man on the phone doesn't sound happy.

0:18:030:18:06

I can assure you I can. We will remove vehicles now.

0:18:060:18:09

Unless this is either paid, or we receive proof of ownership

0:18:090:18:13

for every vehicle here.

0:18:130:18:14

The truth is, Rob doesn't want to remove any assets.

0:18:140:18:18

He's hoping the threat of removal

0:18:180:18:20

will be enough to persuade the man on the phone to pay the debt.

0:18:200:18:23

The sheriffs are entitled to do a diligent search

0:18:260:18:29

of a debtor's premises,

0:18:290:18:30

so while Rob's laying down the law, Gerald's looking for evidence.

0:18:300:18:34

It's not long before he finds more paperwork

0:18:350:18:38

confirming the sheriffs' suspicions.

0:18:380:18:41

-Rob?

-Yeah?

0:18:410:18:42

There's an invoice here from Euro Car Parts to SK Motors.

0:18:420:18:47

For Rob, it's the final straw.

0:18:470:18:50

Right, OK. Today, at this time, all goods are going to be removed.

0:18:500:18:53

We've just found a delivery invoice

0:18:530:18:55

for parts delivered to SK Motors today.

0:18:550:18:58

Yeah. You're still trading as SK, so all goods are going to be removed

0:18:580:19:01

unless this balance is settled.

0:19:010:19:03

He's claiming that SK Motors is no longer at the address,

0:19:030:19:07

and it's all AK Motors Ealing, and it's all his company.

0:19:070:19:10

But he won't give me his name, he won't give me his details,

0:19:100:19:13

just states that he's away at the moment,

0:19:130:19:15

but will be sending through proof in due course.

0:19:150:19:19

Obviously, Mr Anderson has now found relevant paperwork

0:19:190:19:22

showing that the defendant company is still receiving goods here.

0:19:220:19:25

So, at this time, we're perfectly happy to continue.

0:19:250:19:28

Later, the sheriffs set about removing three cars.

0:19:290:19:33

-This is all right. It's a 59 plate.

-Grand and a half, two grand?

0:19:330:19:37

But the keys are locked away in the office.

0:19:370:19:40

I've tried pressing them with different numbers, but, er...

0:19:400:19:42

..no joy.

0:19:440:19:45

Compensation for flight delays has become a hot consumer topic.

0:19:530:19:57

Under EU rules,

0:19:580:19:59

airline passengers may be entitled to make a claim

0:19:590:20:02

if their flight is delayed for more than three hours, or cancelled.

0:20:020:20:05

If the airline doesn't pay what's due,

0:20:060:20:09

the claim can be pursued through the courts.

0:20:090:20:11

If they still don't pay, the sheriffs can be called in.

0:20:110:20:15

Today, Rob has teamed up

0:20:150:20:16

with High Court enforcement agent Lawrence Gricks,

0:20:160:20:19

and they've got a few travel problems of their own.

0:20:190:20:22

I try and avoid driving in central London

0:20:220:20:26

during the day as much as I can.

0:20:260:20:28

If I'm coming into central London, I'll try and get in there early,

0:20:280:20:33

or maybe a bit later in the day.

0:20:330:20:34

Ideally, missing either sides of the rush hour in the day itself.

0:20:350:20:39

Lawrence and Rob are heading to the UK offices

0:20:400:20:43

of Spain's third-largest airline, Air Europa.

0:20:430:20:47

The airline was taken to court after failing to pay compensation

0:20:470:20:50

to a group of passengers.

0:20:500:20:52

They were delayed for four and a half hours

0:20:520:20:55

on a flight back to the UK after a holiday in Majorca.

0:20:550:20:58

Today, Air Europa owes a total of...

0:20:580:21:01

The airline's UK office is in Chelsea Harbour,

0:21:050:21:08

but getting there isn't easy,

0:21:080:21:09

because the roads around the harbour

0:21:090:21:12

are intended for permit holders only.

0:21:120:21:14

Just go up to the barrier and say you've got a High Court writ.

0:21:140:21:17

A passing moped finds a quick way round the security barrier.

0:21:170:21:21

-Or get on your moped.

-I'll do that.

0:21:210:21:23

Rob's going to have to do it the hard way.

0:21:230:21:25

Hello, yeah. We've got a high...

0:21:260:21:28

We've got a High Court writ to enforce.

0:21:280:21:30

We're heading to the boulevard.

0:21:300:21:31

The sheriffs normally expect - and get - access all areas.

0:21:310:21:35

Yeah, we've got a High Court writ to enforce.

0:21:350:21:38

But Rob isn't having much luck

0:21:380:21:39

with the man operating the security barrier.

0:21:390:21:42

Yes, no, I understand that.

0:21:420:21:44

We've got a High Court writ that allows us entry.

0:21:440:21:46

He isn't letting them in.

0:21:500:21:52

Completing the journey on foot looks like the easiest option.

0:21:520:21:55

All right, I can't hear what you're saying, anyway, so...

0:21:550:21:58

Parking's a nightmare,

0:22:020:22:04

so Rob drops Lawrence off to go and enforce the writ.

0:22:040:22:08

-We're here at the moment.

-Right, yeah, I've got it.

0:22:080:22:10

Go up. Go up to the water and turn right,

0:22:100:22:13

and then come back on yourself.

0:22:130:22:14

Yeah. Straight across that roundabout,

0:22:140:22:16

and straight over there. Should say about 260 yards, or something.

0:22:160:22:19

It sounds straightforward,

0:22:190:22:21

and Lawrence is confident he'll be there in no time.

0:22:210:22:24

Four minutes. 0.2 miles.

0:22:240:22:27

I'm sure I can walk that far.

0:22:270:22:29

All right, mate, see you in a minute.

0:22:290:22:31

Lawrence is using an app on his phone specially designed

0:22:310:22:34

to make sure he doesn't get lost.

0:22:340:22:36

At least that's the idea.

0:22:360:22:38

I appear to be going the wrong direction at the moment.

0:22:380:22:41

He seems to be going round in circles.

0:22:440:22:47

I don't seem to be getting any closer at the moment!

0:22:470:22:49

What should have been an easy stroll round the harbour

0:22:510:22:53

is becoming a marathon.

0:22:530:22:55

Finally, he finds the office block

0:22:590:23:02

that's the London home to Air Europa.

0:23:020:23:04

No, not the easiest of places to find.

0:23:040:23:06

Hopefully, we're in... A-ha. There we go.

0:23:080:23:11

Hello, my name's Mr Gricks. I'm an enforcement agent.

0:23:110:23:13

I have a High Court writ to execute against Air Europa.

0:23:130:23:16

There's no response from the intercom,

0:23:190:23:21

so Lawrence tries the door.

0:23:210:23:22

He's in.

0:23:240:23:25

Now all Lawrence needs to do is find suite eight,

0:23:250:23:28

the Air Europa office.

0:23:280:23:29

After all that walking, he decides to take the lift.

0:23:310:23:34

But it's one of those days.

0:23:340:23:37

The lift doesn't appear to be working,

0:23:370:23:38

so I'm going to go up the stairs. I've got no...

0:23:380:23:40

No idea which floor suite eight's on.

0:23:400:23:43

It'd be too simple for it to be on the eighth floor, I suppose, but...

0:23:430:23:46

Looks like we've got to walk.

0:23:460:23:47

This enforcement business can be an uphill struggle sometimes.

0:23:470:23:51

Finally, Air Europa.

0:23:530:23:55

Who's in charge? I'm an enforcement agent.

0:23:580:24:02

I've got a High Court writ to execute

0:24:020:24:04

against Air Europa Lineas Aereas.

0:24:040:24:07

Somebody's aware of it, because they e-mailed us about it.

0:24:080:24:11

Air Europa has been in touch with the sheriffs

0:24:120:24:15

promising to make a payment in full, but the money hasn't arrived.

0:24:150:24:19

Somebody said they were going to pay it yesterday, and they didn't.

0:24:190:24:22

I've checked before I've come here,

0:24:220:24:23

and it hasn't been paid today, either.

0:24:230:24:25

The sheriff's office had given the airline seven days to pay the debt,

0:24:250:24:29

but they didn't, and that's why Lawrence is here.

0:24:290:24:33

-Right, well, the amount is £1,745.22.

-Yeah.

0:24:330:24:37

I need to be able to see it in our account before I leave this office.

0:24:370:24:40

Yeah.

0:24:400:24:41

Lawrence is shown to a waiting room,

0:24:410:24:42

but he's hoping there won't be too much actual waiting involved.

0:24:420:24:45

Right.

0:24:510:24:52

But they're doing it now...

0:24:520:24:53

The payment's due to be made from Air Europa's head office in Spain,

0:24:530:24:57

but there's a delay, and when Lawrence gets wind of it,

0:24:570:25:00

he's far from impressed.

0:25:000:25:03

It seems the only person who can authorise the payment

0:25:030:25:06

is not at his desk - he's on his lunch break.

0:25:060:25:09

I'm not here to wait for somebody to have lunch in Spain.

0:25:090:25:12

Looking for what?

0:25:160:25:17

So, there's only one person that can do it, is there?

0:25:200:25:23

Yeah, but I've been here 50 minutes now.

0:25:290:25:31

I'm not here to wait for somebody to have their lunch in Spain.

0:25:320:25:35

Another 20 minutes, and Lawrence is still waiting.

0:25:390:25:42

The company's UK director, a Mr Colin Stewart,

0:25:440:25:47

suddenly appears, and he's got an update.

0:25:470:25:49

How are you doing?

0:25:490:25:52

-Colin Stewart, director.

-All right, mate?

-Are you all right?

-Yeah.

0:25:520:25:55

Just an update from Arturo, he's spoken to head office.

0:25:550:25:57

Well, that's not good enough. I've been here for an hour now.

0:26:080:26:11

I'm not here to wait an hour and 45 minutes

0:26:110:26:14

so somebody can come off their lunch break in Spain

0:26:140:26:16

and make a payment. Somebody needs to make the payment.

0:26:160:26:19

We're chasing them. We want to get it done.

0:26:190:26:21

We want to get it paid. It's going to be paid.

0:26:210:26:23

It's just literally the person is not there.

0:26:230:26:25

And so they'll be back in 45 minutes,

0:26:250:26:26

and they'll have the payment...

0:26:260:26:28

So there's only one person that can make it?

0:26:280:26:30

You, as director in this country, haven't got...

0:26:300:26:32

-Not the authority.

-..the authority to make a payment?

0:26:320:26:34

Not for the customer service claims.

0:26:340:26:37

That's done by head office in Spain,

0:26:370:26:40

but it will be done, and it's going to be paid,

0:26:400:26:43

and so it's just a matter of...

0:26:430:26:44

That's the earliest we can get that done, so...

0:26:440:26:46

Two-hour lunch breaks in Spain, then.

0:26:460:26:48

Clearly.

0:26:500:26:52

The only reason Lawrence is here at all

0:26:520:26:53

is because the airline has failed to pay the compensation that's due.

0:26:530:26:58

As to whose fault that is,

0:26:580:27:00

it seems the blame for the plane lies mainly in Spain.

0:27:000:27:03

We are happy to pay for this claim that's been put through to us.

0:27:030:27:08

Here in the UK, we look after the commercial side of the business,

0:27:080:27:12

not necessarily the claims side of it,

0:27:120:27:14

which is done in our head office.

0:27:140:27:16

And so the team's working hard here today to speak with head office

0:27:160:27:19

to get this resolved as soon as possible.

0:27:190:27:22

Half an hour later, confirmation finally comes through.

0:27:240:27:28

-Is it done?

-It is done.

0:27:290:27:31

Lunchtime is officially over, and payment has been made in full.

0:27:310:27:35

Yeah, that's in. Full receipt, it is.

0:27:350:27:38

-Right. Thank you very much for speeding them up.

-Thank you.

0:27:400:27:43

And I'll write out the receipt.

0:27:430:27:44

Sorry to have kept you waiting, but at least it's done now.

0:27:440:27:48

Yeah, all done, lovely.

0:27:480:27:50

It's taken an hour and a half,

0:27:500:27:52

but Lawrence's job is done, and he can now leave...

0:27:520:27:55

as soon as he can remember the way out.

0:27:550:27:58

Where's the stairs?

0:27:580:27:59

That was fairly straightforward, if not a bit time-consuming.

0:28:010:28:05

I believe it was siesta time, because it took an hour and a half.

0:28:050:28:09

The director at this end actually personally chased, in the end,

0:28:090:28:12

to get the payment done,

0:28:120:28:14

so, it was longer than I'd have liked to have been there,

0:28:140:28:16

but at the end of the day, it was fairly straightforward.

0:28:160:28:19

All we just had to do was sit and wait for the money.

0:28:190:28:22

For the passengers whose flight home was badly delayed, it's good news.

0:28:220:28:26

They've now received the compensation they're owed in full.

0:28:260:28:30

If you've won a county court judgment and haven't been paid,

0:28:410:28:44

for £66, you can get the case transferred up to the High Court,

0:28:440:28:49

which will issue a writ for enforcement by the sheriffs.

0:28:490:28:53

Hello? I'm an enforcement agent. I'm enforcing a High Court writ.

0:28:530:28:56

I'm here just to execute the court order.

0:28:560:28:58

They've got more powers than county court bailiffs.

0:28:580:29:01

We're going to force entry into the shop

0:29:010:29:02

in about the next 10, 15 minutes.

0:29:020:29:04

I have the right under the writ to investigate.

0:29:040:29:07

If you obstruct myself or my colleague,

0:29:070:29:10

it is a criminal offence.

0:29:100:29:12

And there's no limit to the size of the debts they can pursue.

0:29:120:29:15

£14 million - it's the largest job I've ever done.

0:29:160:29:19

You can pay directly into our account from Spain.

0:29:190:29:22

If they're successful,

0:29:220:29:23

they will recover your money and costs from the debtor...

0:29:230:29:27

-Thanks.

-Thank you.

0:29:270:29:28

..as well as their own fees that are set by the Government.

0:29:280:29:31

It was that amount there until half past five.

0:29:310:29:35

I don't stand here for three hours for nothing.

0:29:350:29:37

If the sheriffs can't get your money,

0:29:370:29:39

they'll ask you to pay a fee of £75 plus VAT.

0:29:390:29:43

Back in west London, enforcement agents Rob Foster

0:29:490:29:51

and Gerald Anderson are pursuing SK Motors for an unpaid debt of £2,353.

0:29:510:29:59

The owner is refusing to pay, and says his business is AK Motors,

0:30:010:30:05

and nothing to do with SK Motors.

0:30:050:30:07

He's claiming that SK Motors is no longer at the address,

0:30:090:30:13

and it's all AK Motors Ealing, and it's all his company.

0:30:130:30:16

Rob and Gerald aren't convinced.

0:30:160:30:19

The S has been changed to an A.

0:30:190:30:20

You can see that the A has been hand painted on.

0:30:210:30:24

It's been a quick change.

0:30:240:30:26

Mr Anderson has now found relevant paperwork

0:30:260:30:28

showing that the defendant company is still receiving goods here,

0:30:280:30:32

so I've given him one last chance to either settle the matter,

0:30:320:30:34

or we'll be removing goods.

0:30:340:30:36

It looks as if the debt isn't going to be paid.

0:30:360:30:39

So the sheriffs are planning to take control of assets.

0:30:390:30:42

The plan is to remove cars and sell them at a public auction.

0:30:420:30:46

Firstly, Rob and Gerald need to be sure the cars they remove

0:30:470:30:50

will cover not only the debt,

0:30:500:30:52

but also the additional removal and auction fees.

0:30:520:30:55

What are we looking at, value-wise?

0:30:550:30:58

This is all right. It's a 59 plate.

0:30:580:31:00

You're probably looking at £1,200-1,500.

0:31:000:31:03

Even though they're not in the motor trade,

0:31:030:31:06

years of experience have made them acutely aware

0:31:060:31:09

of how much cars will fetch at auction.

0:31:090:31:11

-an '07 BM...

-'O7 BM...

-Grand and a half, two grand?

0:31:110:31:15

-What's he got written up on the windscreen?

-Six and a half.

0:31:150:31:18

Six and a half is nowhere near a realistic price

0:31:180:31:21

-Probably...

-..for an '07 or 57 plate BMW.

0:31:210:31:24

They've got a Honda Civic on an '09.

0:31:240:31:27

We might and up taking three or four here.

0:31:270:31:29

They settle on three vehicles.

0:31:290:31:31

I need to get in that office and get the keys.

0:31:310:31:33

Without the keys,

0:31:330:31:34

the cars will fetch far less than their trade price.

0:31:340:31:37

But there's a problem - they're locked inside the office.

0:31:370:31:40

I've tried pressing a number of different numbers on there,

0:31:420:31:45

the normal ones that people use, but no.

0:31:450:31:49

I've had no joy.

0:31:490:31:50

Rob and Gerald ask for the code to get in,

0:31:500:31:53

but neither the man at the premises nor the man on the phone

0:31:530:31:56

are prepared to help.

0:31:560:31:58

So he's not going to give the code to the office?

0:31:580:32:00

-No, no.

-All right.

0:32:000:32:01

The sheriffs have the power to force entry to a commercial premises,

0:32:010:32:05

and that includes getting through locked doors by whatever means.

0:32:050:32:08

Rather than wait for a locksmith, Rob's using an old card trick.

0:32:100:32:13

HE CHUCKLES

0:32:190:32:21

I'm starting to worry about your background!

0:32:210:32:24

THEY CHUCKLE

0:32:240:32:25

Oi, all the keys.

0:32:250:32:26

As well as the car keys,

0:32:260:32:28

they find paperwork that confirms their suspicions.

0:32:280:32:31

The debtor company, SK Motors, is still trading here,

0:32:310:32:35

despite what they've been told.

0:32:350:32:36

We've got the transferring of a vehicle to a motor trade

0:32:360:32:39

received by SK Motors.

0:32:390:32:41

Right, there's the deposit there, stamped SK Motors.

0:32:420:32:46

Card machine receipt for £2,000, SK Motors.

0:32:470:32:50

The purchase invoices, the sales invoices,

0:32:500:32:53

are stamped, and in the name of SK Motors.

0:32:530:32:56

If they don't pay, then we're going to start removal.

0:32:560:32:59

Gerald checks he's got the right keys.

0:32:590:33:02

That sounds like the BM for me.

0:33:040:33:06

And that's that one.

0:33:100:33:11

And satisfied that removal is now their only option,

0:33:110:33:14

he makes the call for a recovery truck.

0:33:140:33:17

OK, cheers. Thanks. Bye-bye. Bye.

0:33:170:33:20

Recovery is on its way now.

0:33:200:33:22

The problem is, when recovering cars,

0:33:220:33:25

it's usually quite a difficult operation.

0:33:250:33:27

They're costly to remove,

0:33:270:33:28

cos you've got to get a lorry here that can actually drag them on,

0:33:280:33:31

just in case they are non-runners.

0:33:310:33:32

Fortunately, we've got the keys, which will ease it,

0:33:320:33:35

but it's still going to be a large lorry for three cars.

0:33:350:33:37

It's then got to go to the auction,

0:33:370:33:39

so we've got to pay the auctions to store the cars.

0:33:390:33:42

They aren't just any old auctions -

0:33:420:33:44

you have to take it somewhere that's secure.

0:33:440:33:47

But all those costs of removing the vehicles to cover the debt

0:33:470:33:50

aren't Rob's problem.

0:33:500:33:51

When the sheriffs' visits escalate to the removal of goods stage,

0:33:510:33:56

the extra fees go onto the debtor's bill.

0:33:560:33:58

It would've been a payment of maybe £2,300, or thereabouts,

0:34:000:34:02

and that would have been the matter settled.

0:34:020:34:04

As it stands, at the moment, because we've gone up through the stages,

0:34:040:34:08

and because we've ordered a recovery truck,

0:34:080:34:11

because they weren't being in contact with us,

0:34:110:34:13

they weren't trying to settle this matter with us,

0:34:130:34:15

in total, the balance now is £4,303.

0:34:150:34:19

He needs to clear that amount to stop these cars being taken.

0:34:190:34:22

Suddenly, the boss is back on the phone,

0:34:240:34:26

and asking for more information.

0:34:260:34:28

Rob breaks the news to him about the extra fees

0:34:360:34:39

that have been incurred since the morning.

0:34:390:34:41

That's the balance. If he pays that now, we stop.

0:34:410:34:44

If he solves that, then that's done.

0:34:440:34:45

If he wants to pay it, that's it, we finish, we go.

0:34:450:34:48

With the total amount owed now standing at more than £4,300,

0:34:480:34:52

Rob's not counting his chickens.

0:34:520:34:55

I'm not holding my hopes up. We're not going to cancel the truck

0:34:550:34:57

or anything like that. Let's see what he does.

0:34:570:35:00

-If need be, we'll get a link to him, or he can pay online.

-Yeah.

0:35:000:35:04

If it's a genuine change of heart, and they do now intend to pay,

0:35:060:35:10

SK Motors will have to be quick about it.

0:35:100:35:13

The removal truck is already en route.

0:35:130:35:15

As the sheriffs wait to see which happens first -

0:35:160:35:19

the truck or the payment - a man enters the garage.

0:35:190:35:22

Who's this? He hasn't a come to look for a car, has he?

0:35:250:35:29

With the sheriffs' attention elsewhere,

0:35:290:35:31

the man who works here has just made a sale,

0:35:310:35:33

but it's unlikely the money will go towards

0:35:330:35:36

paying off the High Court writ.

0:35:360:35:38

He's just sold a car.

0:35:380:35:40

He's just been paid cash for it,

0:35:400:35:41

but won't tell me how much, or where it is.

0:35:410:35:44

I believe that's possibly SK Motors' money.

0:35:450:35:47

Unfortunately, I can't pin somebody to the floor,

0:35:470:35:49

and take cash out their pocket.

0:35:490:35:51

If he's got cash in his pocket, it's in there for the time being.

0:35:510:35:55

It's back to plan A - the removal of assets.

0:35:550:35:58

Finally, the truck arrives.

0:35:590:36:01

Yeah, this is our man.

0:36:020:36:05

Hopefully, get all these three cars loaded up onto his lorry,

0:36:050:36:08

and get them gone now, and get away from here as quickly as possible.

0:36:080:36:11

We've got other things to do.

0:36:110:36:13

Hello, mate. You all right?

0:36:130:36:15

That's one vehicle down so far, on the top of his lorry,

0:36:150:36:18

two more to go.

0:36:180:36:20

Two down, one to go.

0:36:200:36:22

Yeah, just watch that side, as well.

0:36:220:36:25

It's a tight squeeze, but in no time at all,

0:36:260:36:29

there's a large gap in the front of SK Motors' forecourt.

0:36:290:36:33

Unfortunately, on this job, we've had little choice.

0:36:350:36:37

The defendant nor the occupant of the property

0:36:370:36:39

wanted to correspond with us at all on this matter.

0:36:390:36:42

Therefore we've had to resort to actually removing.

0:36:420:36:45

Could've been better, we could've had payment,

0:36:450:36:47

but one way or the other, we will get it sorted.

0:36:470:36:50

Gerald is in no doubt that Rob's lock-picking skills

0:36:500:36:53

made the difference today.

0:36:530:36:56

Getting in the office like that,

0:36:560:36:57

that was the final nail in the coffin,

0:36:570:37:00

once we then managed to gather the evidence from within the office.

0:37:000:37:03

So the boy done good getting in there.

0:37:030:37:05

Doesn't always work as easy as that.

0:37:050:37:07

It doesn't always work at all, but on this occasion it did,

0:37:070:37:09

and it saved us a lot of time and a lot of hassle.

0:37:090:37:12

We've been here for over four hours. Numerous phone calls made,

0:37:120:37:15

numerous chances to provide proof or to make payment,

0:37:150:37:18

nothing forthcoming. Last resort, removing the vehicles.

0:37:180:37:22

Job's done. They're just about to go. That's this one wrapped up.

0:37:220:37:25

Three cars leave on their way to auction,

0:37:270:37:30

but, two days later, SK Motors paid the debt in full,

0:37:300:37:34

including the extra removal and storage costs,

0:37:340:37:38

and the cars were returned.

0:37:380:37:39

Thanks to the sheriffs, the claimant finally got the money he was due.

0:37:390:37:44

Many small independent retailers are struggling to cope

0:37:570:38:00

with rising overheads and increasing competition

0:38:000:38:03

in the form of online shopping.

0:38:030:38:06

But no matter how tough it gets,

0:38:060:38:07

if they want to keep trading, they must pay their suppliers.

0:38:070:38:11

This morning, enforcement agents Tommy Coyle and Jon Farley

0:38:120:38:15

are heading to the cathedral city of Winchester in Hampshire

0:38:150:38:19

in pursuit of an unpaid debt.

0:38:190:38:23

Going to a company called Double Amount Limited,

0:38:230:38:25

trading as Cadogan and Company.

0:38:250:38:27

It's an upmarket fashion retailer.

0:38:270:38:30

They've been taken to court by a supplier over an unpaid invoice.

0:38:300:38:34

The court ordered the retailer to pay, but they didn't,

0:38:340:38:37

and now the sheriffs are going to collect the debt or seize assets.

0:38:370:38:41

We're looking for around £2,700 today.

0:38:410:38:45

There should be a lot of assets there.

0:38:460:38:48

Had a look on the internet - it's a double-fronted shop in a nice area.

0:38:480:38:52

Looks good, so hopefully, there's plenty of assets there -

0:38:520:38:55

if they don't want to pay, we can look at removing.

0:38:550:38:57

The amount owed today is...

0:38:580:39:00

The most valuable goods are likely to be the shop's stock,

0:39:050:39:08

and, luckily, Jon considers himself something of a sartorial expert.

0:39:080:39:12

Yeah, I like my clothes. I like my fashion.

0:39:120:39:15

I like to look smart, try and look good as much as I can.

0:39:150:39:18

Jon doesn't get to show off much at work, but for Tommy,

0:39:190:39:23

the sheriffs' regulation black garb is a blessing.

0:39:230:39:26

Yeah, I ain't the best with fashion.

0:39:260:39:28

The girlfriend has to dress me when we go out.

0:39:280:39:31

Generally, if I get myself ready,

0:39:310:39:34

she will laugh, and then get angry, and say I'm not coming with her.

0:39:340:39:39

HE LAUGHS

0:39:390:39:41

The shop is in a prime location,

0:39:430:39:45

situated in the historic city centre, and close to the cathedral.

0:39:450:39:48

It's nice, isn't it? I'm very impressed.

0:39:490:39:52

-There's a museum here.

-Yeah. I'm always up for being educated.

0:39:520:39:57

-There - Cadogan.

-There we go, it's open. That's perfect.

0:39:570:40:00

The sheriffs park outside, and head in.

0:40:020:40:05

It's time for Double Amount to pay up in double time.

0:40:050:40:08

Hello. Oh, hello, sir.

0:40:090:40:12

Double Amount Limited, trading as Cadogan and Company?

0:40:120:40:16

Is it yourselves? Do you want to go and have a word in private?

0:40:160:40:18

I'm a High Court enforcement agent here with a High Court writ.

0:40:180:40:22

The man on the shop floor is the shop's owner, Alex Edwards,

0:40:220:40:26

and he says he's willing to settle the debt.

0:40:260:40:29

We have an amount, at the moment, 2,688.50.

0:40:290:40:32

How would you like to pay that?

0:40:330:40:34

By card?

0:40:360:40:37

He doesn't seem particularly surprised to see the sheriffs.

0:40:370:40:40

Do you know all about this, then?

0:40:400:40:41

You did, yeah?

0:40:410:40:43

It's just escalated to this stage.

0:40:430:40:46

At this stage, we just need full pavement, but it won't be a problem.

0:40:460:40:49

He just immediately said he wants to pay it in full.

0:40:490:40:52

So, Tommy's just in there at the minute,

0:40:520:40:54

getting the account details sorted.

0:40:540:40:56

So, hopefully, we'll be gone in two minutes.

0:40:560:40:58

If Jon's hoping for an easy job, he's spoken too soon.

0:41:000:41:03

Mr Edwards tries to make an online payment, but it won't go through.

0:41:030:41:07

-Can you not do it on that?

-No.

0:41:090:41:10

Other than that, can you get the cash out?

0:41:100:41:12

We can wait here if you just go and get the cash.

0:41:120:41:15

Mr Edwards agrees, and heads off to his bank, which

0:41:150:41:18

is further up the high street,

0:41:180:41:20

leaving the sheriffs behind in his shop.

0:41:200:41:23

I'm being as diplomatic as I can be.

0:41:230:41:26

He's compliant in getting the cash for us now to make a full payment.

0:41:260:41:29

In the meantime, Jon's taking no chances,

0:41:310:41:34

and starts sizing up the shop's assets.

0:41:340:41:36

Yeah, a lot of nice stuff here.

0:41:380:41:39

I doff my cap.

0:41:430:41:45

Jon seems to have a head for upmarket fashion.

0:41:510:41:54

Primark's more my kind of place.

0:41:540:41:57

After a few minutes,

0:41:590:42:00

Mr Edwards returns with an envelope full of cash,

0:42:000:42:03

which Tommy is more than happy to take off his hands.

0:42:030:42:05

I'll count it out for you, sir. Cheers.

0:42:050:42:08

The sheriffs make short work of counting it out...

0:42:100:42:13

-We were just saying, you've got a lovely shop, by the way.

-Thank you.

0:42:130:42:16

..all £2,688.

0:42:160:42:18

All there. So, sir, I'll just get you to sign the receipt.

0:42:210:42:25

Thank you very much for your time, and you take care of yourself, sir.

0:42:250:42:28

And with that, Tommy and Jon have done what they came for.

0:42:280:42:31

Double Amount Limited's debt is cleared,

0:42:330:42:35

and their unpaid supplier will soon get the money they're owed.

0:42:350:42:40

All in all, a very fast and good result.

0:42:400:42:43

We had a job to do, and we've done it on this occasion.

0:42:430:42:46

Full payment, happy claimant,

0:42:460:42:48

and we've given him a receipt, and left him to trade on.

0:42:480:42:51

Mike and Billy head to the country and confront a farmer who hasn't paid a local electrician who supplied special lighting equipment for his pheasant pens.

Lawrence visits the offices of one of Spain's biggest airlines, in pursuit of compensation owed to a family whose holiday flight home from Majorca was delayed for more than four hours.

Rob and Gerald visit a car dealer who refused to give a customer his cash back when the car he bought broke down after just three days. With a showroom full of cars, will they get the money that's due before they call in a tow truck and start removing them?