21/11/2011 Inside Out South


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Hello, and welcome to Inside Out. Here's what's coming up tonight.


Hi, I'm Steve Long, co-founder of The Universal Group. We gatecrash


this man's seminar, which claims to offer financial peace of mind to


the elderly. Why is it you're selling a product


when you are possibly, could be rendering it useless? You've put me


on the spot here... I have put you on the spot, because we've been


trying to get in touch with you. Your office told us you were out of


the country, but that's not the case, you're here, giving another


seminar today. Also tonight, repo man. With the


recession, we've had more cases coming our way. How bailiffs are


kept busy in the recession clearing up bad debt. We've been sent here


today to enforce a High Court writ which orders us to remove goods


from the premises. And, is it right to invite this Mrs Tiggywinkle into


your home? Inhumane, him in a cage is inhumane. He wants to walk two


miles a night and he cannot do it in the kitchen. Oh! What? It bit


I'm Jon Cuthill, and this is Inside First tonight, a story you told us


about. Care for a loved one in later life can cost tens of


thousands of pounds, and so if an expert tells you he has a way of


getting someone else to foot the bill, well, you're going to be


interested. You told us of one company operating here in the South


promising just that. Here's David Whiteley.


One in four of us will need long- term care, and if you have more


than �23,000 in savings and property then you will be expected


to pay for your care. That's a worry for some people who'd rather


keep their assets in the family. I'm Steve Long, co-founder of The


Universal Group, and I'm here to show you how you can avoid care


fees. This man claims he knows how you can avoid care fees. He says


he's better than a solicitor. local solicitor won't be able to do


this, solicitors come to us to do Lovely, thank you, darling. Five


years ago, Bernard and Christine Dillon wanted new wills. They went


to Steve Long. Earlier this year, Mr Long phoned Bernard unexpectedly.


His business had a new product to avoid care fees. When he came, he


said that you could get out of paying care home fees by setting


this trust up that would stop the council from getting their hands on


your money. And it would be �3000, which is a lot of money. So our


first reaction was, well, we'd have to think about that. But, in the


end, he managed to talk us into agreeing with him. But I've since


found that, if a trust was set up for that sole purpose, that that


would disqualify itself. Beryl Shea also had a visit from


Steve Long. He said the money would all be ring-fenced, that you


couldn't... The Government couldn't get hold of it for care home fees.


But he suddenly said, "Well, there is a fee that you have to pay, and


if possible we'd like to have it tonight". And it was 3000... 3,500?


We've asked several solicitors, and they told us similar trusts would


cost from 700 to �1200. Care home fees can run to thousands of pounds


a year, so it's only natural for us to worry about these costs as we


approach old age. Steve Long runs seminars to explain his solutions


to these concerns. We went to some of his seminars and


listened to his claims about himself and his products. This one


was in Bristol. We do seminars like this for


solicitors, a top barrister works along with us. And you'll have a


whole room of solicitors all dealing with elderly clients, they


specialise in elderly client care. Not one of them has ever done that


or knows how to do it. So it's a specialist niche, there are


probably five of us in the country who deal with it. But that's not


true. Caroline Bielanska is a solicitor specialising in wills and


administration of estates. There are lots of professional lawyers


who undertake wills and trusts. And the membership of Solicitors for


the Elderly and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners will


have many thousands of members together who would be able to set


up these sorts of trusts. But also they have to have a very good


working understanding of social care assessments and funding.


she wants to make sure that Peter's inheritance is safe... The man


behind The Universal Group is Stephen Long. In his seminars, he


makes many claims that make him and his company sound very well-


connected and important. I work with the top barrister in the


country, we do seminars like this for solicitors. But we've spoken to


the Bar Council, which represent barristers, and they told us that


no-one would claim to be the country's top barrister. So he


doesn't seem to be quite as well- connected as he claims, but he


sounds well-qualified. Well, I'm a qualified accountant and a lawyer.


He isn't. We've checked with the UK accountancy organisations and the


solicitors' regulation authority. He is a member of STEP, the Society


of Trust and Estate Practitioners. So how accurate are his claims


about his products? Our undercover producer asked Steve Long if an


elderly person who isn't well could use one of the trusts to avoid care


fees. Providing he hasn't already been assessed and isn't already


receiving care, then it's straightforward. The local


authority will look at the reasons that the trust was actually created.


And if they feel that it was done for the purpose of putting the


asset beyond their reach, then, of course, they could take it into


account in an assessment and treat the person as if they still owned


the asset. So the irony is that if the motive is to avoid paying care


home fees, then the trust may end up doing precisely the opposite.


And that is exactly how Steve Long markets his product. I'm here to


show you how you can avoid care fees. In the end, it's the local


authority who decides, so we asked the local government association,


which represents local authorities, just what the rules are. They told


us if you put your assets into a trust deliberately designed to


avoid care fees, then the local authority can treat you as though


you still own the assets. That seems clear, so we wrote to Mr Long


to explain why he gives misleading statements in his seminars. His


office told us he was out of the country until the end of this week.


Then his office claimed some of his mistakes were due to an ear


infection. I hope his hearing is better now, because he's still in


the country and he's giving a seminar at this hotel here in


Gloucester. I do hope his hearing is better, because I've got a few


questions for him. His office said that Universal


asset protection is totally committed to excellent customer


care, and that their fees are not excessive. But Mr Long has not


given specific answers to most of our questions.


I've got to ask you a question, Mr Long. Why is it you're selling a


product called How To Avoid Care Fees when, by marketing it as that,


you are, in fact, possibly, could be rendering it useless? Well,


that's not the advice that we've received. And it's nice of you to


come in unannounced into a seminar here. But we have been in touch


with you, Mr Long. We've asked you quite a few questions about the


validity of what you are doing with these trusts. So by advertising


yourselves as How To Avoid Care Fees, you're shooting yourself in


the foot a bit, aren't you? It's not the advice we've received.


have you received the advice from? This is from the Government. Who's


wrong, you or the Government? I think when we look at the cases


we have dealt with, and you've put me on the spot here... I have put


you on the spot, because we've been trying to get in touch with you.


Your office told us you were out of the country. That wasn't the case,


you're here giving another seminar today. I'm not prepared to discuss


on television the intellectual property that we have. All I can


say is that the trust that we use has a 100% track record, we have


documentary evidence of local authorities accepting that the


trust works. You market yourself as one of only five companies that


specialises in this kind of elderly care trusts, and yet that's not


true either, is it? We say we are one of five specialist providers


that we know of that provide these for other people. But any firm of


solicitors who knows and understands the rules around this


would be able to do that. Strange, but he said the opposite


when he didn't know he was being recorded. Your local solicitor


won't be able to do this. It's a specialist niche, there are


probably five of us in the country that deal with it. So which Mr Long


should we believe, and what can we learn from this?


If you are thinking of putting your property into a trust deliberately


to avoid care fees, remember they're not suitable for everyone


and they may not work. My first reaction was to say no. But he


continued and, as I say, eventually wore us down. If you've met him,


you'll know that he's a very pleasant man, and obviously a very


And that just proves how important your e-mails are, so if you've got


Next, the recession may be officially over, but it's still


tough going out there. When deals turn bad, bankruptcy can be just


around the corner. But help is at hand... Through the bailiffs.


Lawrence Grix is a High Court enforcement officer. He and


colleague Kevin McNally are called in when debtors fail to pay up,


even though a court has ruled they must. I would say everybody's


trying to make a living, everybody's entitled to be paid for


what they've done. Us collecting debts does stop some businesses


going under, it does stop some people losing their homes. Today,


they're about to visit the home of a builder who owes a lot of money.


�4000, to be exact, which he owes builders' merchant for unpaid bills.


There he is. Mr Burns? It can go two ways. We could now be


annoying him so much by keep banging on the door that he could


potentially come to the door with some kind of weapon, so we've got


to be ready for him to be aggressive. Or he could just stay


shut in there. High Court enforcement officers like Lawrence


and Kevin have a lot of clout. They can climb fences, access properties


through unlocked doors or windows, and even break into offices and


factories. And they can seize goods. In lieu of his debts, they are


taking Mr Burns' car. In Plymouth, hotelier Joseph Louie


is hoping they'll help him get the money he's owed. Joseph lent a


former business partner a large sum of cash, but not all of it was paid


back. They went to court and the judgement ruled in Mr Louie's


favour. But still the money hasn't been returned, and it's very much


crunch time at the hotel. If he doesn't pay the money he borrowed,


the business I don't think will be here for long. The staff will lose


their jobs, and the city would lose something we're proud of. The debt


has left the business and Joseph Louie with a serious cash-flow


crisis. It should've been an invoice paid on Monday, and I


phoned this morning, they say it's been paid, but it's not. I'm in


It gets to the point that you really need to chase people for


�6,000. This is a few million pounds business here, it shouldn't


be the case. For receiver Ian Walker, businesses


with bad debts are a familiar story. If they don't get paid, they can't


pay their wages and eventually they will fail, unless they've got


security to enable a bank to lend them more money to see them through


those cash flow difficulties. But increasingly nowadays we're seeing


that businesses have been struggling for so long they've


completely lost all personal wealth. There is nowhere else they can give


security to the banks from. With the recession, we've had more


cases coming our way. But potentially they're not as easy to


collect on. We've had the last of the money people had, I think, over


the last year or so, and it's getting progressively harder and


harder. Before Lawrence and Kevin sort out


hotelier Joseph Louie's missing money, they're back on the road in


search of more missing debts. are off to a garage. They're off to


a car dealer who has not refunded an unhappy customer's money. Nine


months ago, Martin Chapel bought a pickup truck to start a gardening


business. He returned it to the garage because it was faulty, and


that's where it's been ever since. And Mr Chapel has yet to receive


his refund. I paid �6,000 which, to a lot of people, may not be much,


but it is a lot to me and there's a big principle at stake. It is a


principle that Lawrence and Kevin want to uphold with the garage boss.


I'll show some ID. I'm a High Court enforcement officer. Right, OK.


That's the writ as it stands at the moment. 7,906.08 we're looking for.


Or else we remove assets. Of which I can see you've got plenty!


you'd be so kind as to leave our premises, gentlemen.


After 15 minutes and a quick trip to the bank, it's all sorted.


Martin Chapel will get his refund. Paid in full. It was just a case of


getting the funds. They knew they had the debt, weren't particularly


happy, but when you've got this much stock on your forecourt, what


choice have you got? Another successful job. Later, the garage


told us that senior management had not been made aware of the


situation and that, if they had, it would have been dealt with long


before the bailiffs were called in. It's now time to help Joseph Louie


recover his �160,000. Lawrence and Kevin head to the home of Joseph's


ex-business partner, Paul Chapman. He lives in a luxury property. The


bailiffs hope Mr Chapman, a former Plymouth Argyle footballer, is in.


Hello there, looking for a Paul Chapman. I'm sorry, he's not here.


Would you be Mrs Chapman, by any chance? No. I'm the cleaner here.


Are you able to get Mr Chapman on the phone at all?


But the lady at the door is not going to let them in. She told us


she was the cleaner. She was very smart and she was on the house


phone, as well. So I'm not entirely convinced by that. But I think it's


fairly safe to say we're not going to gain peaceful entry. I'll have a


look round the back and see what's to be seen. As Lawrence and Kevin


note any items of value that could be seized, Mr Chapman's cleaner


reappears. OK, I'll come and speak to you. We really need to speak to


Mr Chapman to get this sorted out. We're here today to remove goods


from the premises. You're here to remove...? What on earth for?


Because we're enforcing a High Court writ. For? I can't give you


any details, but basically we've been sent here today to enforce a


High Court writ which orders us to remove goods from the premises. So


we really need to speak to Mr Chapman. Well, I'm not discussing


this because this is scaring me stupid. I'm only here to do a job,


I'm sorry. Right. We're not here to scare you. Unfortunately, we're not


going because we have a writ to be here. I'm not giving... What we're


asking you to do... I don't know why I'm even speaking to you.


we're asking you to do... Would you please go away and come back


another time? No. You've just told me you can contact Mr Chapman.


I didn't. Yes, you did. You'll have Lady's refusing to speak to us.


She's asking us to leave, we've refused because we've every right


to be here, and that's where it stands at the moment. So we'll see


what happens. Hopefully either the police or Mr Chapman will turn up.


After 20 minutes, he arrives. Chapman? Mr Grix. I'll show you


some ID. What are the cameras doing? They're just following us


around for the day. Lawrence makes some checks. He wants to know if


there's anything he can legitimately seize to help Joseph


Louie recover his cash. Mr Chapman says he's borderline bankrupt. If


somebody wants to make him bankrupt, he will be bankrupt. His business


is gone. Everything's gone, basically. The house is on the


market, the cars both belong to the lady inside, he's just gone off to


get proof of that now. On the face of it, he actually seems quite


genuine. But we do take that with a pinch of salt, we don't take


anything for granted. In the end, it turns out that Mr


Chapman's cleaner is also his partner. But as most seizable


assets seem to be hers, it's not a good day for the repo men. Across


the bay, in view of their luxurious pad, Joseph will just have to wait


for his money. I can see my business partner's palace, where


he's living in luxury and I'm struggling. But I will see my money


regardless. I will. After the bailiffs' visit, the


builder whose car was clamped has been paying his debt in monthly


instalments. Martin Chapel got his money back and his gardening


business is blooming. But, as for Joseph, he's still waiting. His


former business partner, Mr Chapman, has subsequently been declared


bankrupt. And, if nothing else, Joseph has learned an unfortunate


lesson. Don't be a me, don't be so stupid and trusting. But at the


same time, I hope I don't have to change. It has got to be trust


somehow, but not too trusting. Finally tonight, the humble


hedgehog. A couple of facts for you, they are immune to adder venom, and


a baby hedgehog is called a hoglet. But whilst our native species might


be on its back foot, a rather more exotic version is doing well.


Here's Jane Goddard. New patients arrive at the Hedgehog


Hospital in Buckinghamshire. They haven't got any teeth yet. They're


about 10, 11 days. The eyes open at two weeks. Les Stoker, who founded


Tiggywinkles over 30 years ago, is worried. Over the last half-century,


he's seen the numbers of native hedgehogs fall from 5 million to


just 1 million. We take in 3,000 hedgehogs a year, but I know they


are going down in numbers. In the countryside, there are no hedgehogs


anymore because of farming practices. So hedgehogs are now


moving into gardens and nature reserves. So that 1 million are


living in gardens. Thank God they've somewhere to go. So every


rescue hedgehog that Les and his team nurses back to health is a


bonus for what is fast becoming a threatened species. Once they're


weaned, we treat them as wild animals. They don't get handled at


all, just for their medical checks. Most of the time they get on with


it as a wild animal. So they're roaming around your grounds? They


go into pens, yeah, then they get released. This is a little hedgehog


we've had in for about three weeks. It's a very common injury that we


get. They've been caught by a dog, and it's bitten a big hole and it


gets very infected and all that skin breaks down. In the operating


theatre, resident vet Clare Campbell is tending to a very poor


animal. What we will do is give it a really, really good clean and


then we pack it with honey, manuka honey, which has really good


healing power. It cleans out the horrible, disgusting tissue that is


growing and allows new tissue to go through it. The injured hedgehog


must be sedated before any treatment can be given. While this


is done, I'm given the unenviable task of helping a hoglet go to the


loo. Normally the mother would lick the baby...? To stimulate them to


wee. If this little critter doesn't learn, he simply won't survive.


can see it dripping on the towel. Yes, I would call that a result.


And the thing to remember, because some people might be thinking this


is a lot of work for a little creature, but this is a species


which is in decline? It is a species which is in decline, so you


put the effort in. But this hedgehog has met the general public,


has met people, and has come off worse the wear for it. We'll never


redress all the balance, but if we can do our best.


So while our native British hedgehog might be struggling,


there's another kind which is definitely on the rise. This is a


hedgehog show, and taking centre stage and apparently growing in


popularity, a hybrid - the African pygmy hedgehog. What are they like


as pets? They're fine, really nice. Not too spiky? No, they put the


spikes down for you so you can stroke them. I've always loved


hedgehogs, so I just bought a couple about two years ago. Do you


think they are a good pet? For me, because I work through the day and


they're nocturnal, so that's good for me. What's the attraction?


They're just really friendly and cute and lovable. What's his name?


Lester. The African pygmy hedgehog, like lots of pygmy pets, is


expensive, often costing well over �150. But that doesn't stop some


owners giving them up. They're wild hedgehogs, that's the whole point.


Les is seeing more and more of these animals abandoned and brought


to his hospital. Ow! You joking? just bit me! Are you joking?


There's a wound! He's hissing. him up, turn him over. This is the


must-have pet, African pygmy hedgehog, perfect pet for a little


girl. Look at it, cute, Mrs Tiggywinkle. Beatrix Potter had one.


Not one of these. See the state of my fingers? Your little girl of 12,


he comes along, he will bite the skin and make her bleed. You don't


want to give your kid a... Ohh! What?! It did, it bit me! I wasn't


putting that on, it bit me! At the show, owners say their pets


have been specially bred to be domesticated. But even they admit


they're not your average animal. Think carefully before you buy a


hedgehog because it's not a pet to have for a few weeks. It's for a


lifetime, so you need to care for them properly. They don't require


much care, but you've got to offer the right care. Today there are


going to be prizes for the best in show hedgehogs. Most of it's on


health, temperament, what the hedgehog looks like, perfect ears


and things like that. We can drop a few points to decide the winner so


they all don't win. Some people argue it's the ideal pet, it's


nocturnal, I can be out all day at work, come home, play with my


hedgehog? Just like this! But... You can't play with it, it's an


animal! You can't play with an animal. Dogs and cats have been


bred in captivity for 10,000 years. This guy has been bred in captivity,


but they've had 10 years to get used to being domesticated. They're


not designed to be domesticated animals, and they don't want to be


domesticated animals. And it's simple as that. They don't enjoy


being a pet. Are you saying that a wild native British hedgehog


wouldn't behave like this or would? It would behave like this. One of


my great worries is that, they sell these for �150 each, which is a lot


of money in these times. What worries me is people are going to


go outside and pick up a British hedgehog which doesn't cost them


anything and keep that in captivity. And it shouldn't be. Picking up


British hedgehogs, we're just going to run out of hedgehogs.


Back at the hedgehog show, tensions are rising. Can I just make a point


here that hedgehogs should not actually be kept on hay or straw.


I'll have a word with the person who it is later. It can get wrapped


around their paws and cut circulation off, so it's not a good


substrate to use. And what does it feel like when you're watching them


judging, picking your hedgehog up? It's scary because I've never done


this before, I'm new to it. winners of the females under five


And if there were any children watching, what advice would you


have about if they were going to get a hedgehog? A really sensible


bit of advice? Hold them every day at least to make them used to you.


What do you think about people who get one and then give up? You've


got to keep trying, it's not very fair. You've got to keep trying.


the operating theatre, with his cuts cleaned and dressed with honey,


the victim of the dog bite is coming round from the anaesthetic.


He's all right? There we go! A bit sleepy, we'll pop you back in your


cage. Hedgehogs have always been one of our most popular mammals,


and that popularity helps generate funds for Les at the hospital. But


he feels that having them as pets and keeping them at home is just a


step too far. Before all these fads, they had canaries in cages, little


canary cages, and goldfish in bowls. Inhumane. Him in a cage is inhumane.


He wants to walk two miles a night. And that's just about it for this


week. Don't forget the e-mail, [email protected] I'll see you


next time. A licence to make money. �564.


3680. -- �680. The South's controversial car clamper.


Are you Mr White? How can you justify 600 quid? Disgusting, the


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