Episode 6 The Sheriffs Are Coming


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Episode 6

Series following high court enforcement officers. Sheriffs Lawrence and Kev help a classic car enthusiast who spent £2,000 on parts that were never delivered.


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Transcript


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Meet the sheriffs.

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My name is Mr Grix. My colleague and I are enforcement agents.

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We are here with a High Court order today.

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They work for the High Court, and if a judge says

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you're owed money, it's the sheriffs' job to go and get it.

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-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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Or 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 £80 million.

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Coming up... When Rob and Gerald visit a restaurant, tempers flare...

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We are going to call our community

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and there will be a big fight, do you hear?

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..and they're forced to call the police.

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Right, do me a favour, mate.

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Do not touch my camera, right?

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Steve Flowers splashed out £2,000 on parts for his pride and joy.

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When you speak to the guy, and he's all sort of genial,

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and then you find out that he's just shafted you.

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When Lawrence and Kev hunt down the man who took Steve's money,

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he's not pleased to see our camera.

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A minicab company say they can't pay their debt,

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so Andy and Adie start hunting for assets.

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Anything in the safe?

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We will ask the director to open that up.

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And when Tracy and Adam have a writ for a pharmacy,

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it's their van that needs treatment.

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Somebody's stuck a brick through the van window.

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Restaurants and bars are three times more likely

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than other UK businesses to go bust.

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It's a notoriously difficult industry to be successful in.

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So, it's no surprise that many ventures end up in debt,

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and then find the sheriffs at their doors.

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It's early evening in November.

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And Rob Foster and Gerald Anderson

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are on their way to a fish restaurant.

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Going to the Shepherd's Bush part of London today.

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Looking for a company called Pacific Blue Ocean Ltd.

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The claimants have carried out

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some drainage maintenance for the company,

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and, obviously, haven't been paid.

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The maintenance company took Pacific Blue Ocean Ltd to court

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but they didn't defend it, and the restaurant was ordered to pay up,

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but they still haven't.

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So, now, it's in the hands of Rob and Gerald.

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So, we're there now to enforce the writ

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for the amount of just over £1,000.

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For the sheriffs, a restaurant presents some challenges -

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not least that when they're open,

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they tend to be full of customers

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and there's often no chance

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of a private conversation with the owners.

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Their job is still the same as usual,

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uphold the law by collecting payment or taking control of goods.

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Before that, Rob and Gerald's thoughts turn to their stomachs.

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My favourite, I'd say, is cod and chips with gravy.

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Gravy?! Not entirely sure how people do that, it's got to be curry.

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Certainly not gravy.

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As they approach the address on the writ, Rob spots the business.

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Says it's on our right here.

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There it is, Blue Ocean.

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They head in to tell Pacific Blue Ocean Ltd

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it's time to settle their debt.

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It's 4.50 pm, the restaurant is open,

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and there are already diners at some tables.

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-How do!

-We're enforcement agents from the sheriff's office.

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There's my identification.

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We've got a High Court writ. Is the owner about?

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Can you ring him?

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You're going to have to ring him.

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It doesn't look like that's going to happen very quickly.

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Is he going to call him, is he?

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I'm assuming so. He seems to be making his coffee.

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I need to speak to the owner.

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There's still no sign

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that anyone is going to call the company director, Mr Harid.

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But a woman appears from the back.

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Are you the owner?

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We need to get hold of Mr Harid,

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because it either needs to be paid or we're removing goods.

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She says the restaurant hasn't received any notification

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of the debt and can't deal with it now.

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You've had letters sent out, the court's sent letters out.

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We've sent a notice of enforcement out.

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We've had no response.

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Rob wants the woman to understand how serious the situation is.

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We don't just leave a letter and go.

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We'll take all the assets with us, including the entire kitchen,

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all the machines, all the tables, all the chairs,

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we'll take it with us and then we'll leave them a letter to pay it

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once it's all gone.

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Having just said they don't know about the debt,

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the woman now has more information.

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It hasn't been paid. It hasn't been paid.

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What do you mean he's paid it already?

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Mr Harid. Is he on his way down?

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The most frustrating thing for the sheriffs

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is when a debtor refuses to communicate.

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Rob doesn't want to argue with the front of house staff,

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he just needs to speak to the boss.

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She won't give me an answer what time he's coming down here.

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So no-one's going to answer me if he's on his way down.

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If they can't speak to the boss,

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the only thing the enforcement agents can do

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is start exploring the restaurant.

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Gerald heads behind the bar to check out the stock.

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As long as the owner... Is the owner coming?

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OK, if you've called the owner, then no problem at all.

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Yeah, I'll wait here.

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Sheriffs have a duty to investigate a debtor's premises.

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But the woman isn't happy.

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And their exchange is threatening to cause a scene.

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One of the customers wades in.

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Are you the owner of the business?

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There we are then. I can't discuss it with you.

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All right?

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Don't tell me what rights I've got. I know what rights I've got.

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I have the right to come in here under a High Court writ

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and seize everything in this property.

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Give your lawyer a ring, then.

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The last thing the sheriffs want

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is an argument with the restaurant's diners.

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Rob just wants to speak to the boss.

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Is someone going to call him?

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But it's not going to be the boss that the man's calling.

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Right. There we are. Perfect.

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We'll now call the police because that's a threat of violence.

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All right?

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If you obstruct myself, or my colleague, it is a criminal offence.

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Rob and Gerald can't take any chances.

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Police, please. The occupants of the property have threatened to get

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the community down here now for a big fight.

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With both sides expecting to be vindicated by the police,

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the man calms down and goes back to his supper.

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The police are on the way, all right?

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It's getting a bit heated here at the moment.

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They're not happy that we're here.

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They don't believe we have any authority to be here.

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But the problem is, we are acting within the law.

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There we are. The police are here now.

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Ten minutes after the call, the police arrive.

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Hello, officers. Are you all right?

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We've got a High Court writ to enforce here today.

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At the moment, my intention here is

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to either get payment in this matter, or remove all the goods.

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This gentleman here has been in our faces all evening.

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-OK.

-He's also threatened to call the entire community

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and get them down here and there'll be a big fight.

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I'm taking that as a threat of assault.

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The man, however, is expecting the police

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to tell the sheriffs they can't enforce.

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We need payment now,

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or it's going to escalate and we're going to start removing.

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We are enforcing part of the law.

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The law states that, if it's not paid today,

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I have to take everything away.

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We don't want to do something like that.

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We don't want to do something like that.

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He's still not convinced, but, thanks to the police,

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the imminent threat of a big fight has receded.

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Gerald is concerned there's another flash point coming.

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If they don't pay, and they won't get hold of the boss,

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we're left with no other choice but to remove assets.

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-OK.

-They've obviously said that won't happen.

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-OK.

-They've said it won't happen.

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We're here strictly to prevent any breach of the peace

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and just trying to calm the situation down.

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Just talking to people in a calm manner

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and explaining the situation kind of prevents anything from happening.

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The police let the staff know that if it comes to it,

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they're not going to be stopping the removal of goods.

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And that seems to have an effect.

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How long will it take?

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The boss is now apparently on his way.

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Is he going to pay up? If so,

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I can send him a link to his phone and he can just pay it.

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Just as it looks like Rob's finally making progress,

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another man comes in from the back.

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He's not the boss and he's not come to pay.

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Right, do me a favour, mate.

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Do not touch my camera, right?

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Don't be grabbing or pushing.

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You can wait outside, right?

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The gentleman, it's obviously got a little bit tasty.

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He's been escorted out by the police and now being briefed

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by the police on what he should be doing

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and what he shouldn't be doing -

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ie, he cannot start putting his hands on people.

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The atmosphere in the restaurant is heating up.

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With the man ejected, and with the other diners having left,

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the police officers aren't letting anyone else in.

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So, me and my colleagues have made a decision

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to stop any further people coming in,

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apart from the people here, to provide security for yourself,

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us, and the enforcement agents.

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Customers are now being turned away and the business is empty.

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Later, with the boss still absent, Gerald takes decisive action.

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I've escalated it on to stage two.

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It's now at £1,745.

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Using the County Courts

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to try and recover money you're owed isn't difficult.

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1.5 million money claims

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are paid every year in England and Wales,

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involving anything from faulty goods or poor workmanship

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to unpaid invoices.

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Claims can be filed 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,

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the County Court Judgment or CCJ 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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The sheriffs have an impressive track record

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when it comes to recovering debts for their clients.

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But that doesn't always mean getting payment in full there and then.

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Sometimes they'll give the debtor time to come up with the money.

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In the meantime, they'll take control of items

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that could later be sold to clear the debt.

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It's coming up to 8am,

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and High Court enforcement agents Lawrence Grix

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and Kev McNally are in the van, heading for the south coast.

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We're in sunny Hastings.

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We're going to see Dean Daniel of Weslake Motor Heritage.

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He owes the grand total of £2,944.

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The debt is relating to differential conversion kits for Triumph Stags.

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Weslake Motor Heritage,

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not to be confused with any other company of a similar name,

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manufactures parts for classic British sports cars -

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including the Triumph Stag.

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But the sheriffs' client today

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didn't have a happy experience with the company.

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He paid for this...

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..and never received goods.

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So, eventually, he cancelled and requested a refund,

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which he never got.

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This is the claimant, Steve Flowers,

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a mechanical engineer from Suffolk.

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I've been into classic cars most of my life.

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And this is Steve's pride and joy, a 1976 Triumph Stag.

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V8 engine. Twin heads.

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I've done quite a bit on it myself.

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The engine has all been lightened and balance.

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It's got gas float heads, four barrel carb.

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A lot of people refer to it as a hairdresser's car.

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But Steve doesn't agree, and he should know.

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He's spent the last 12 years lovingly restoring it.

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Now it's almost ready for the open road.

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The engine's perfect.

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Gearbox is great, the rest of the car is great, other than the diff.

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The what?!

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Apparently, the diff, or rear differential,

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transfers engine power to the rear wheels.

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So, it's pretty important as far as performance is concerned.

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This is the diff. This has been the bane of my life.

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It needed replacing but the original part is no longer manufactured

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and Steve didn't want a used one.

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Instead, he found Dean Daniel, trading as Weslake Motor Heritage,

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who said he could provide a new diff, specially modified for a Stag.

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He seemed a nice guy, knew what he was talking about.

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So, £1,500 for the differential, and £500 for the drive shaft.

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He said, "Yeah, I want a deposit of £500."

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Fine.

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It seemed like a fair price to Steve,

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and he paid the £500 deposit.

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They agreed the parts would be ready in time

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for him to drive to a classic car event

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at the Spa Race Track in Belgium that summer.

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Spa is the highlight of my year.

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When you turn up in your car, and it's your car, and you've built it,

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and it's got you there with maybe a minimum amount of oil leaks

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and a minimum amount of water leaks,

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you feel really proud and you think,

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"Yeah, I've done a good job here."

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As the event drew closer,

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Steve started to worry

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that the parts weren't going to arrive in time.

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Then he got the phone call he'd been waiting for.

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He said it was ready. And I said, "Fine."

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He said, "If you transfer the money over..."

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I said, "Yeah, not a problem."

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Steve paid the £1,500 balance,

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but the parts he'd ordered still didn't arrive.

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And then, for the next few months,

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I got promises it was going to be ready,

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and then this wasn't going to happen,

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and that wasn't going to happen.

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The Spa Classic Car Event that Steve was eagerly anticipating

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came and went.

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The Triumph wasn't ready,

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and Steve had to go as a passenger in a friend's car.

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It spoiled my year, really, to be honest.

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When you speak to the guy, and he's all sort of genial,

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and, "Yeah, I can do this and do that,"

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and then you find out that he's just shafted you,

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I got very angry.

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Steve eventually sourced a second-hand differential,

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and got the Stag up and running again.

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But Mr Daniels still had Steve's £2,000, and his order.

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Then cancelled it and I said, "I want my money back, I've had enough.

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"You've messed me around enough."

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But, when his money wasn't returned, Steve took the matter to court.

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And when Mr Daniel didn't contest the case,

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judgment was issued in Steve's favour.

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Even then he didn't get paid.

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He's now upgraded the judgment to the High Court and got a writ.

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I thought, "Right, you ain't going to get away with it.

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"I'm going to get my money back one way or another."

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Back in Hastings,

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Lawrence is looking forward to a job that takes him back

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to his own heady days of sports car ownership.

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I had a Triumph Stag back in the day and I managed to blow my diff.

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Bit of a pig of a job,

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laying on your back with the car on axle stands,

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trying to grapple the diff out from between the chassis rails.

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But I managed it in the end.

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But, yeah, if I could have got a better one, I would.

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It's all double Dutch to Kev.

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But, before he can say anything, they arrive.

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There are plenty of cars on site, but none of them vintage.

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I thought there'd be a garage out here somewhere.

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There's nothing round there.

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Should be here somewhere.

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They head into reception, but there's no-one around.

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High Court enforcement agents have the power

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to enter a commercial premises,

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so Lawrence and Kev head through.

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Where's our one then? That's not what we want, is it?

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No.

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It's not going to be that.

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They can't find Dean Daniel's unit,

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but they do bump into some men in the corridor.

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Looking for Weslake Motor Heritage.

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And, although, at first, they seem to have no idea either...

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Walked through the door. It was open.

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..it turns out one of them is the landlord.

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My name is Mr Grix, I'm an enforcement agent,

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as is my colleague.

0:17:020:17:03

Do you know them?

0:17:030:17:04

So, can you point us in the right direction, please?

0:17:060:17:09

Not here as in gone permanently or temporarily?

0:17:090:17:12

Just not here at the moment.

0:17:120:17:13

If Weslake Motor Heritage and Dean Daniel really aren't here,

0:17:150:17:19

there might not be much the sheriffs can do today.

0:17:190:17:21

Just to make sure, the landlord leads them round,

0:17:220:17:25

and to everyone's surprise, Mr Daniel IS here after all.

0:17:250:17:28

-Dean...

-Yes.

0:17:290:17:30

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

0:17:320:17:35

Yeah, well, come in.

0:17:350:17:36

Why do I need a camera?

0:17:380:17:40

At last, they've found the debtor,

0:17:410:17:43

but he isn't pleased to see the camera,

0:17:430:17:45

so we wait outside.

0:17:450:17:47

Lawrence explains to Mr Daniel

0:17:480:17:50

that he's got a High Court writ in Stephen Flowers's favour,

0:17:500:17:53

that commands him to collect the £2,944 owed.

0:17:530:17:58

Mr Daniels says he is aware of the debt,

0:17:590:18:01

and says that although he doesn't have the money to pay it,

0:18:010:18:04

he has arranged to borrow some from a friend.

0:18:040:18:07

The problem is that the cash injection isn't due to arrive

0:18:080:18:11

for a few more days.

0:18:110:18:12

Lawrence isn't keen to wait and doesn't think Steve will be either.

0:18:120:18:17

He tells Mr Daniel that, if he can't get hold of the money sooner,

0:18:170:18:20

his goods could be removed instead.

0:18:200:18:22

And the unit is full of valuable assets,

0:18:230:18:26

mostly machine tooling and parts.

0:18:260:18:28

As Lawrence contemplates taking control of some of it,

0:18:290:18:32

he can't resist the chance to reminisce with Mr Daniel

0:18:320:18:35

about his own experiences in an old Stag.

0:18:350:18:38

Engines aren't my thing so I'll let him crack on with it.

0:18:390:18:41

Lawrence had to recount a few of his stories from his youth

0:18:410:18:45

about changing head gaskets and whatever else he does,

0:18:450:18:49

crawling around in the nuts and bolts and oil.

0:18:490:18:51

Inside, Lawrence hasn't had any luck

0:18:530:18:55

in hurrying along Mr Daniel's investor.

0:18:550:18:58

With no payment offer on the table,

0:18:580:19:00

it's going to have to be the assets.

0:19:000:19:02

He has got a lot of assets there

0:19:030:19:05

that are definitely going to cover the amount

0:19:050:19:07

we're after by a long shot.

0:19:070:19:08

Probably give him a couple of days to pay, list the assets there,

0:19:100:19:13

and, if we have to, come back and remove them.

0:19:130:19:16

The High Court writ commands the sheriffs

0:19:160:19:18

to either collect payment or take control of goods.

0:19:180:19:21

But taking control doesn't always mean physically removing stuff.

0:19:210:19:25

In this case, Mr Daniel will have to sign a Controlled Goods Agreement,

0:19:260:19:30

or CGA, which will mean his assets technically belong to the court

0:19:300:19:35

and can't be sold or otherwise disposed of.

0:19:350:19:37

But they can remain on the premises,

0:19:380:19:40

giving him time to come up with the money while continuing to trade.

0:19:400:19:45

And, with that agreed, Lawrence and Kev head out.

0:19:450:19:47

This way out, wasn't it?

0:19:500:19:51

They leave with thousands of pounds worth of machinery listed

0:19:520:19:56

and an agreement that payment will follow.

0:19:560:19:58

The job went well. He's a nice enough chap, to be fair.

0:19:580:20:01

Knew all about it, and he's just going to get it sorted.

0:20:010:20:04

So, we listed a few assets down and gave him a couple of days to pay.

0:20:040:20:08

It might seem like the sheriffs let Mr Daniel off the hook,

0:20:080:20:12

but taking control of goods puts them firmly in the driving seat.

0:20:120:20:16

Under the terms of seizure,

0:20:160:20:18

they can force entry to his unit at any time

0:20:180:20:20

and remove them if he doesn't pay up as agreed.

0:20:200:20:24

Going on instinct, he's going to pay that, no problem.

0:20:250:20:27

If not, we'll be back to remove the goods.

0:20:270:20:29

There's plenty of assets to cover the amount we're after.

0:20:290:20:32

Kev's instincts were proved correct

0:20:320:20:34

when Mr Daniel made the payments he promised.

0:20:340:20:38

It's been a triumph for the sheriffs.

0:20:380:20:40

Steve has finally got the money he's owed.

0:20:400:20:44

All my thanks are to Lawrence and Kev.

0:20:440:20:46

I gather Lawrence is a massive car fan,

0:20:460:20:49

and I got the full payment and I'm really, really happy.

0:20:490:20:52

Back in West London, Rob and Gerald are still in Pacific Blue Ocean,

0:21:010:21:05

a restaurant that owes a debt to a drainage firm.

0:21:050:21:08

They'd been trying to get hold of the boss for more than half an hour.

0:21:080:21:12

You're going to have to ring him.

0:21:140:21:15

With customers and staff unhappy with their presence,

0:21:190:21:22

they've had to call the police to calm things down.

0:21:220:21:25

Right, do me a favour, mate, do not touch my camera, right?

0:21:250:21:28

Don't be grabbing and pushing.

0:21:280:21:30

Wait outside. All right?

0:21:300:21:32

The police have closed the doors to prevent any further altercations.

0:21:330:21:37

They've effectively stopped the restaurant from trading.

0:21:370:21:40

The woman now makes an offer.

0:21:400:21:42

No, it needs to be paid in full.

0:21:480:21:49

Unfortunately, with attitude that we've seen today,

0:21:490:21:52

and the aggression we've seen today,

0:21:520:21:55

we're not going to be able to do that.

0:21:550:21:56

It needs to be settled tonight,

0:21:560:21:57

or we'll remove goods to close this file.

0:21:570:21:59

It's... I'm not having either ourselves

0:21:590:22:01

or another officer, or the police,

0:22:010:22:03

having to waste their time by coming back down AGAIN to deal with this.

0:22:030:22:06

It needs to be dealt with now.

0:22:060:22:07

Over half an hour since he first asked,

0:22:080:22:11

Rob finally gets to speak to the director, Mr Harid.

0:22:110:22:15

He now says he's coming down to the restaurant.

0:22:150:22:18

Right, how long are you going to be?

0:22:180:22:19

On your way is not good enough

0:22:190:22:21

because you could phone in another hour's time

0:22:210:22:23

and go, "I'm still on my way, I'm still stuck in traffic,

0:22:230:22:25

"it's going to be another hour." We don't work like that.

0:22:250:22:28

Have you got a smartphone?

0:22:280:22:29

Have you got the internet?

0:22:290:22:31

I can send you a payment link to your phone.

0:22:310:22:33

You go into that link and you can make the payment.

0:22:330:22:36

He says he can't,

0:22:360:22:37

but he will send his card details to a member of staff

0:22:370:22:40

who will make the payment on his behalf.

0:22:400:22:43

We're now hoping that that's going to go through

0:22:430:22:45

and that will resolve things.

0:22:450:22:47

What it's asking you for now is to enter your card number.

0:22:470:22:50

But it's not that simple.

0:22:500:22:52

Looks like it's failed for whatever reason.

0:22:520:22:54

And the next attempt doesn't go through either.

0:22:550:22:59

Despite the restaurant agreeing to pay just moments earlier,

0:22:590:23:02

it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

0:23:020:23:05

That failed for whatever reason.

0:23:050:23:06

I don't think they're entering the right details.

0:23:060:23:09

Rob warns the police that he and Gerald

0:23:090:23:11

might have no choice than to escalate to removal.

0:23:110:23:14

We'll give you a heads up before we start doing that.

0:23:140:23:16

Then we won't just jump into it.

0:23:160:23:18

Before that, he tries to make sure the woman understands

0:23:180:23:21

that if the debt isn't paid very soon,

0:23:210:23:23

then further fees will be added.

0:23:230:23:26

The bill is already nearly twice what they owed

0:23:260:23:28

the drain maintenance company in the first place.

0:23:280:23:32

This is a £600 debt that's gone up to almost £1,200.

0:23:320:23:35

It goes up hugely.

0:23:350:23:37

It can go up to almost £3,000. From £600 to £3,000 - it's huge.

0:23:370:23:42

Rob offers the woman one last chance to pay.

0:23:420:23:45

Either putting the payment through now or time up.

0:23:450:23:49

But, with no money forthcoming,

0:23:490:23:51

the enforcement agents' options have finally run out.

0:23:510:23:54

Can you tell them it's now £1,745?

0:23:560:24:00

I've escalated it on to stage two.

0:24:000:24:02

Escalating the enforcement to stage two

0:24:030:24:05

means Rob and Gerald list the business's assets

0:24:050:24:08

and start preparing for a potential removal.

0:24:080:24:11

What I'm going to start doing now is lugging all the tables and chairs

0:24:120:24:15

and start piling them up at the door here.

0:24:150:24:17

It looks like they really will need to empty the restaurant

0:24:170:24:20

to have any chance of getting the drainage company's money.

0:24:200:24:23

But just then...

0:24:250:24:26

HORN BEEPS

0:24:260:24:27

Is that him in the taxi?

0:24:300:24:32

Right.

0:24:320:24:33

Hello, sir.

0:24:360:24:37

How do?

0:24:380:24:39

To their surprise, he says he's already paid the debt.

0:24:390:24:43

This is the letter, is it?

0:24:430:24:45

What?

0:24:480:24:49

You've had that letter this morning?

0:24:490:24:51

Dated the 25th of July, 2017.

0:24:510:24:54

No, it makes no difference at all.

0:24:540:24:57

This was Tuesday, 25th of July.

0:24:570:24:59

Don't care. Means nothing at all to me -

0:24:590:25:01

you need to pay the amount that we're here for.

0:25:010:25:03

The man's letter is four months old.

0:25:030:25:05

We're enforcing. You've got...

0:25:050:25:07

Sir, this was posted on the 25th of July,

0:25:070:25:10

and you received this letter today?

0:25:100:25:13

What the boss has appears to be the original invoice

0:25:130:25:15

from the drainage company.

0:25:150:25:17

He didn't pay them for their work at the time

0:25:170:25:20

and it's since been through court,

0:25:200:25:22

and then a writ issued for the money.

0:25:220:25:24

He's a little too late.

0:25:240:25:26

The £600 bill has become a £1,750 writ of control at stage two.

0:25:260:25:32

No, you haven't.

0:25:340:25:35

We've got a High Court writ here that says how much you have to pay.

0:25:350:25:38

Our amount needs to be paid, otherwise, I'm taking the lot away.

0:25:380:25:42

You need to agree to pay this now or it's going up another stage.

0:25:420:25:45

He's not happy.

0:25:450:25:47

It was that much when I came here two hours ago.

0:25:480:25:50

It's £1,745.

0:25:500:25:53

Yeah, it was that amount there until 5.30pm.

0:25:530:25:57

It's now 6.45pm.

0:25:570:25:59

So, that there is where I've given you warning.

0:25:590:26:02

That there is the amount that you need to pay.

0:26:020:26:05

£1,745.66.

0:26:050:26:08

With the goods by the door ready for removal,

0:26:080:26:11

Gerald no longer has the appetite for an argument.

0:26:110:26:14

It's time to bring this job to an end.

0:26:140:26:17

Are we going to pay this or not?

0:26:170:26:19

Simple as that. I'm not arguing with you.

0:26:190:26:21

Are you going to put your card into our machine or not?

0:26:210:26:24

You need to answer now or it's going to go to over £2,500...

0:26:250:26:28

-That's the next stage.

-And we remove at further cost.

0:26:280:26:31

Card?

0:26:310:26:32

Thank you.

0:26:340:26:36

And with that, the boss pays the whole stage two fee on a card.

0:26:360:26:39

You're right was to answer your mail and go to court and respond to it.

0:26:410:26:45

You've had plenty of court letters,

0:26:450:26:47

you've had plenty of letters from us.

0:26:470:26:48

Here's your receipt. Thank you, sir.

0:26:480:26:50

-All done.

-Thank you.

0:26:500:26:51

And much to everyone's relief, the sheriffs leave.

0:26:540:26:57

Cheers, gents. Thank you very much, sirs.

0:26:570:26:59

-Cheers.

-Cheers. Thank you.

0:26:590:27:02

The police were a godsend there today.

0:27:020:27:04

I believe if they weren't there,

0:27:040:27:07

we had a very large crowd starting together.

0:27:070:27:11

It's been an exhausting evening for the sheriffs,

0:27:110:27:14

but they've demonstrated that they have the tenacity

0:27:140:27:17

to get their clients the money the court has ordered.

0:27:170:27:20

Unfortunately, situations like this,

0:27:200:27:22

they could have dealt with it much easier, much quicker.

0:27:220:27:24

There was no need for the threats,

0:27:240:27:25

there was no need for wasting the police time in attendance.

0:27:250:27:28

Unfortunately, when someone threatens

0:27:280:27:30

to call the entire community down and there's going to be a big fight,

0:27:300:27:32

we've got to take it seriously.

0:27:320:27:34

A long, drawn-out case,

0:27:340:27:35

but a damn good result was achieved at the end of it.

0:27:350:27:38

Payment in full, all sorted.

0:27:380:27:41

Pacific Blue Ocean Ltd have learned the hard way

0:27:410:27:44

that it's much better to pay their debts

0:27:440:27:46

before the High Court has to get involved.

0:27:460:27:48

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

0:27:580:28:00

Are you going to pay the bill?

0:28:000:28:01

-What do you mean, no?

-..the sheriffs won't always remove assets.

0:28:010:28:06

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

0:28:060:28:09

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

0:28:090:28:12

Do you reckon you can do £200 a week?

0:28:120:28:14

They'll make a list of assets...

0:28:140:28:17

That's a nice motor.

0:28:170:28:18

-Rice cookers.

-Seven wrist bracelets.

0:28:180:28:21

...and a controlled goods agreement is signed,

0:28:210:28:24

making it an offence for anyone else to remove them.

0:28:240:28:27

You sign it, I sign it...

0:28:270:28:29

The sheriffs will only return to take the goods

0:28:290:28:31

if the debtor fails to make payments.

0:28:310:28:34

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

0:28:340:28:36

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

0:28:360:28:39

Tracy Lee and Adam Crossley are on their way to Leeds,

0:28:420:28:46

heading to a business that owes a substantial sum of money.

0:28:460:28:50

The writ is against a pharmacy, Khan Pharmacy.

0:28:500:28:54

It's just short of £10,000 we're looking to recover this morning.

0:28:540:28:57

Khan Pharmacy owes the money to a supplier, which hasn't been paid.

0:29:000:29:04

They took the shop to court, but when it didn't enter a defence,

0:29:040:29:08

judgment was made against them.

0:29:080:29:10

When they still didn't pay, the supplier got a writ,

0:29:100:29:13

and today the pharmacy owes £9,096.64.

0:29:130:29:19

Here we are. It's bigger than I expected.

0:29:190:29:22

The premises is large and Tracy and Adam park up round the corner

0:29:220:29:26

and head in, hopeful that the pharmacy

0:29:260:29:28

will have goods to the value of their debt.

0:29:280:29:30

Morning.

0:29:300:29:32

-Morning.

-Is the owner in?

0:29:320:29:34

It's regarding an outstanding debt.

0:29:340:29:35

It's a High Court writ we're here to enforce.

0:29:350:29:38

Who's the proprietor?

0:29:380:29:39

-It's my husband.

-Is Mr Khan about?

0:29:390:29:41

Well, his car's broken down.

0:29:410:29:43

He's running a little bit late.

0:29:430:29:44

Right. Are you able to get him on the telephone?

0:29:440:29:46

-Yeah.

-If you can do that, please.

0:29:460:29:49

She calls her husband and he says he's on his way.

0:29:490:29:52

Meanwhile, Tracy and Adam check out the assets.

0:29:530:29:57

There's a lot of shelves empty.

0:29:570:29:59

Bit sparse, isn't it?

0:29:590:30:00

Some electric toothbrushes up here,

0:30:010:30:03

which I should imagine are retailing at £40, £50 apiece.

0:30:030:30:06

There's not £10,000 worth, is there?

0:30:060:30:08

There are some expensive products here,

0:30:090:30:11

but the sheriffs know they'll make a fraction

0:30:110:30:13

of their retail price at auction.

0:30:130:30:15

The most valuable items are the medicine stocks,

0:30:160:30:19

but, unfortunately for the sheriffs,

0:30:190:30:21

prescription drugs are exempt from seizure by law.

0:30:210:30:24

-Morning.

-Morning, is it Mr Khan?

0:30:260:30:28

-That's me. Yes.

-Hi.

0:30:280:30:30

This is my colleague, Miss Lee.

0:30:300:30:32

We're enforcement agents - High Court enforcement officers.

0:30:320:30:37

We're here to consider an unpaid writ of control.

0:30:370:30:40

And we're here today to enforce it.

0:30:400:30:41

The balance will be paid immediately.

0:30:410:30:43

£9,096.64.

0:30:430:30:45

Can you pay it?

0:30:470:30:48

Why can you not pay it?

0:30:500:30:51

All right. OK.

0:30:530:30:54

Tracy wants Mr Khan to understand the severity

0:30:540:30:58

of what happens if he doesn't pay his debt.

0:30:580:31:00

Mr Khan, there's a writ which gives us the right to remove goods,

0:31:000:31:03

so we are in a position to empty the premises.

0:31:030:31:05

Is there anybody that can help you out with this?

0:31:050:31:08

If he really can't afford to pay, the sheriffs will need to see proof.

0:31:090:31:13

Have you got online banking?

0:31:130:31:15

Do you mind if I can come with you to have a look?

0:31:150:31:17

What you might tell me and what you've got available

0:31:190:31:21

might be two different things. All right.

0:31:210:31:24

Mr Khan takes the sheriffs into his office

0:31:240:31:26

to show them his bank statements.

0:31:260:31:29

It's not good news.

0:31:290:31:31

It's clear that he doesn't have the funds to pay in full.

0:31:310:31:33

He decides he no longer wants the camera in his shop

0:31:350:31:38

and we continue filming from the road.

0:31:380:31:40

Inside, Mr Khan tells Adam he has £300 of his own money

0:31:410:31:46

that he offers to pay towards the debt.

0:31:460:31:48

Given that it stands at more than £9,000,

0:31:490:31:53

300 won't be enough to stop the sheriffs

0:31:530:31:55

taking the shop's stock away with them.

0:31:550:31:57

And that's not all. The pharmacy is not a limited company,

0:31:590:32:02

and Mr Khan is trading as an individual,

0:32:020:32:05

meaning his personal goods are on the line too.

0:32:050:32:09

Although they were told his car was broken down,

0:32:090:32:12

Tracy saw him arrive in one and goes looking for it.

0:32:120:32:16

It's a 540, BMW.

0:32:160:32:18

It's a few years old, so the value of that...

0:32:180:32:21

£1,000 max.

0:32:210:32:23

Mr Khan has said the car belongs to someone else

0:32:230:32:26

and, as it's barely worth the cost of removing it,

0:32:260:32:29

the sheriffs don't press the point.

0:32:290:32:32

Tracy isn't expecting to get the debt settled today.

0:32:320:32:35

We empty the premises today, shut him down,

0:32:350:32:38

the debt's not going to get paid, is it?

0:32:380:32:40

It's looking like it's going to be an arrangement.

0:32:400:32:42

Back in the shop, Adam has reached the same conclusion.

0:32:430:32:47

He's estimated that he might be able to raise £3,000

0:32:470:32:50

by auctioning the shop's goods.

0:32:500:32:52

He explains to Mr Khan that if he can come up with that figure,

0:32:530:32:57

he'll list the goods, but leave them on the premises

0:32:570:33:00

and set up an arrangement to pay the rest of the debt in instalments.

0:33:000:33:03

Before he finishes, he's interrupted.

0:33:050:33:07

Adam, Adam.

0:33:090:33:11

We can if we can get a lump sum paid today.

0:33:110:33:13

-Yes.

-The van's been trashed.

0:33:130:33:15

Somebody's stuck a brick through the van window.

0:33:150:33:17

The passenger window has been smashed

0:33:190:33:21

and Tracy's tablet computer stolen.

0:33:210:33:23

That's a hell of a brick.

0:33:230:33:25

It's a bit of a shock but there's still a job to do.

0:33:250:33:28

Are you ringing the police?

0:33:280:33:30

I'm trying to get this money out of this bloke.

0:33:300:33:32

While Adam heads back in to encourage Mr Khan

0:33:320:33:35

to come up with the money,

0:33:350:33:36

Tracy is left to deal with the van.

0:33:360:33:39

Could I have the police, please?

0:33:390:33:41

Ten minutes later, Adam has finally made some progress.

0:33:420:33:46

It's not yet at his £3,000 target but they're getting close.

0:33:460:33:50

His partner's left to go and try and get some funds.

0:33:510:33:54

She think she's got about £500 available

0:33:540:33:57

in her account, so I think she's going to lend it to him.

0:33:570:34:00

He's got some money coming in on Monday,

0:34:000:34:02

so he wants to make a deferred payment from that

0:34:020:34:05

and then come to an arrangement to pay the balance.

0:34:050:34:07

The police arrive and Tracy shows them the damage.

0:34:090:34:13

The perpetrators have long since fled,

0:34:130:34:15

but the officers collect what evidence they can.

0:34:150:34:18

-SHE SIGHS

-You don't want the brick, then?

0:34:180:34:22

Inside the shop, Mr Khan's partner has returned.

0:34:220:34:25

Adam takes the £500 she's brought from the bank

0:34:250:34:29

and Mr Khan makes a £300 payment online.

0:34:290:34:32

They fill out the control of goods agreement

0:34:350:34:38

and Mr Khan promises to make another payment that evening.

0:34:380:34:41

Tracy, meanwhile, is left to clean out the van.

0:34:420:34:45

Look at this, eh? A woman's work...

0:34:460:34:48

Not happy about this.

0:34:480:34:50

Adam finishes with Mr Khan.

0:34:510:34:54

Have you done a good job in there?

0:34:540:34:55

500 in cash with 300 on a transfer.

0:34:550:34:58

He's going to transfer 1,000 tonight.

0:34:580:35:00

1,000 again on Monday.

0:35:000:35:02

And then he's proposed £800 a month.

0:35:040:35:07

So, £800 in the bank and another 2,000 promised in the next few days.

0:35:080:35:14

It's pretty close to the £3,000 that Adam said he wanted

0:35:140:35:18

and not a bad result,

0:35:180:35:20

considering how little value there was in the available assets.

0:35:200:35:24

Mr Khan admitted that he had not responded to it,

0:35:240:35:26

and I think it's focused his attention today

0:35:260:35:29

that he needs to deal with his creditors.

0:35:290:35:31

He didn't have the funds available so, all in all,

0:35:310:35:33

I think it's a decent result, given the circumstances.

0:35:330:35:37

No.

0:35:400:35:41

The suppliers, who are owed the money,

0:35:420:35:44

accepted the arrangement proposal of £800 a month,

0:35:440:35:48

which, to date, Mr Khan has been paying as agreed.

0:35:480:35:51

Enforcement agents Andy Joryeff and Adie Long are in north-east London

0:36:050:36:10

on their way to a business that hasn't paid a debt.

0:36:100:36:13

Today, we go to Quick Cars UK Ltd in Old Street, London.

0:36:130:36:18

It's a taxi rank and owes roughly around the 2,500 mark.

0:36:180:36:24

The money is owed to an individual who took the cab firm to court.

0:36:260:36:30

They didn't pay what was ordered,

0:36:300:36:32

so the claimant's now got a writ for the money.

0:36:320:36:35

There it is, Quick Cars.

0:36:350:36:36

It's the one with the orange sign.

0:36:360:36:38

The premises looks quite small.

0:36:380:36:40

The sheriffs head in to ask for the £2,413 owing.

0:36:410:36:46

Hello, sir. Do you work for Quick Cars?

0:36:470:36:50

My name is Mr Joryeff.

0:36:530:36:55

I'm an enforcement agent.

0:36:550:36:56

I'm here to enforce...

0:36:560:36:58

..a High Court writ against Quick Cars UK.

0:36:590:37:02

Do you want to give him a call so I can speak to him?

0:37:020:37:05

Excellent. Thank you.

0:37:050:37:07

Whether the man is a dispatcher or a driver waiting for a fare

0:37:070:37:10

isn't clear, but he's not the boss and he leaves them to it.

0:37:100:37:14

We've gained entry into the commercial premises.

0:37:140:37:17

The gentleman that's here now appears to be an employee.

0:37:170:37:20

He says that the director of the company isn't here.

0:37:200:37:23

He's just on the phone to him now.

0:37:230:37:25

While they wait, Adie starts to explore,

0:37:250:37:27

and almost immediately finds the letter

0:37:270:37:29

his own office have sent out,

0:37:290:37:32

warning the business the sheriffs were coming.

0:37:320:37:35

We have got an enforcement notice,

0:37:350:37:37

so he can't deny that he hasn't received that letter off us.

0:37:370:37:41

Sheriffs are entitled to make a diligent search

0:37:410:37:44

of a debtor's premises.

0:37:440:37:46

And, in doing so, Andy's found something interesting.

0:37:460:37:49

This Certificate of Employers' Liability

0:37:500:37:53

for Quick Cars UK.

0:37:530:37:54

The insurance document could prove

0:37:550:37:57

the company is active and trading from here.

0:37:570:38:00

Moments later, the man they spoke to on the way in

0:38:010:38:04

reappears with his boss on the phone.

0:38:040:38:06

Hello, sir. Is this Mr Patel?

0:38:080:38:10

My name is Mr Joryeff.

0:38:100:38:11

I'm an enforcement agent.

0:38:110:38:12

I'm here in order to execute a High Court writ of control.

0:38:120:38:16

The balance is £2,413.34.

0:38:160:38:18

The High Court writ that we have

0:38:180:38:20

commands that we take control of your assets

0:38:200:38:23

to remove for sale at auction.

0:38:230:38:25

The director doesn't dispute they owe the money,

0:38:250:38:27

but says there are so many other debts

0:38:270:38:30

he won't be able to pay it off.

0:38:300:38:31

I understand exactly what you're saying.

0:38:310:38:34

OK. However, the other debts are not my concern today.

0:38:340:38:39

Now I'm here at enforcement stage one.

0:38:390:38:41

Enforcement stage two will incur an extra fee of £594.

0:38:410:38:46

OK?

0:38:460:38:48

It's a lot of money to come up with today,

0:38:480:38:51

but a stage two fee will only add to the company's debt burden.

0:38:510:38:55

Get yourself down here so I can speak to you face-to-face.

0:38:550:38:58

I'm going to have a look around the office area, OK?

0:38:580:39:01

See what assets are here, and then we shall go from there.

0:39:010:39:05

If the sheriffs are to accept a payment plan,

0:39:050:39:08

they need to be convinced that it's in their client's best interests.

0:39:080:39:12

Should the company have assets that could be sold to clear the debt

0:39:120:39:14

immediately, then they won't agree to months of small part-payments.

0:39:140:39:19

He says that he's contacted the office previously,

0:39:200:39:23

advising that he cannot make payment in full.

0:39:230:39:26

He wishes to put forward a payment proposal

0:39:260:39:29

in order to clear the debt via instalments.

0:39:290:39:32

What that proposal is, I don't know.

0:39:320:39:35

He's going to come down to try and get this matter sorted out.

0:39:350:39:38

While they wait for the boss to arrive,

0:39:380:39:40

they resume their search of the office.

0:39:400:39:43

Looking to see if there are any vehicles that are owned

0:39:430:39:47

by the debtor. Looking through some logbooks,

0:39:470:39:50

it seems as if all the drivers own their own cars.

0:39:500:39:53

If they can't find something valuable,

0:39:540:39:56

such as a car that could be sold for the entire amount owed,

0:39:560:40:00

the sheriffs have the option of seizing everything here on paper

0:40:000:40:04

while Quick Cars UK come up with the money.

0:40:040:40:07

There's a possibility that we will enter him

0:40:070:40:09

into a Controlled Goods Agreement today,

0:40:090:40:11

but there is no point wasting time sitting around

0:40:110:40:13

so I am just going to start itemising the assets now.

0:40:130:40:16

There is little of value in the office,

0:40:160:40:18

but there is an intriguing safe under the desk.

0:40:180:40:21

Anything in the safe?

0:40:210:40:22

It's locked. You've got keys for it?

0:40:240:40:26

No keys? The safe is bolted to the floor.

0:40:260:40:29

It is locked. We will ask the director to open that up.

0:40:290:40:33

Andy is hopeful that it will be stuffed with cash,

0:40:330:40:36

but in the meantime, he has found some notes.

0:40:360:40:38

30, 40, 50, 60.

0:40:380:40:41

So £65.

0:40:410:40:42

Depending on what

0:40:420:40:45

the director says when he arrives,

0:40:450:40:47

I'll make a decision then on whether I'm going to take it or not.

0:40:470:40:51

Sheriffs can seize cash they find on a debtor's premises.

0:40:510:40:54

Unlike any other asset, if it belongs to someone else,

0:40:540:40:57

the debtor will have to prove it.

0:40:570:40:59

The sweep of the office is now complete,

0:40:590:41:01

but they will have to wait for the boss to arrive

0:41:010:41:04

to find out what is in the safe.

0:41:040:41:06

If he opens up the safe, and there's plenty of money in there,

0:41:060:41:10

fantastic, job done.

0:41:100:41:11

However, if there isn't, we are just going to have to

0:41:110:41:14

try and apply the pressure with what assets we have here today.

0:41:140:41:17

We have got computer systems, the radio system.

0:41:170:41:21

Without this equipment, I believe they wouldn't be able to trade.

0:41:210:41:24

None of it is worth very much second-hand,

0:41:250:41:28

but would be expensive for the company to replace.

0:41:280:41:31

Andy is hoping the boss would rather pay

0:41:310:41:33

than see his equipment taken away.

0:41:330:41:35

And a little over an hour after the sheriffs walked in, he's here.

0:41:380:41:42

Hello, sir.

0:41:420:41:43

We are asked to leave.

0:41:510:41:53

Inside, Andy continues his examination,

0:41:530:41:57

going through the company's online banking with the boss.

0:41:570:41:59

There is not much there, and when the safe is finally opened,

0:42:010:42:04

there is nothing there either.

0:42:040:42:06

40 minutes later, Andy and Adie are out.

0:42:080:42:11

We have pushed as much as we can.

0:42:120:42:15

We have managed to achieve a Controlled Goods Agreement

0:42:150:42:18

with a £463 payment today.

0:42:180:42:22

Following Andy and Adie's visit,

0:42:220:42:24

Quick Cars UK Limited have been making payments,

0:42:240:42:27

and the debt is now well on the way to being cleared.

0:42:270:42:29

It's another success for the sheriffs

0:42:300:42:32

and another of their clients who will finally get

0:42:320:42:35

what the court has said they're owed.

0:42:350:42:37

Quick Cars UK Limited's director told us

0:42:390:42:41

that when he took over the business...

0:42:410:42:44

He said:

0:42:460:42:47

The sheriffs meet a classic car enthusiast who spent £2,000 on parts for his pride and joy. But the parts were never delivered, and when he asked for his money back he didn't get that either. Lawrence and Kev leap into action, determined to get back the cash he handed over.

Elsewhere, Rob and Gerald call the police for back-up when tempers run high at a restaurant with an unpaid debt. And Sheriff Tracy is shocked to discover she has become a victim of crime.