21/11/2011 Inside Out South


21/11/2011

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

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

:00:08.:00:11.

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

:00:11.:00:15.

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

:00:15.:00:19.

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

:00:19.:00:22.

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

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

:00:26.:00:29.

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

:00:29.:00:31.

seminar today. Also tonight, repo man. With the

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

:00:34.:00:39.

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

:00:39.:00:42.

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

:00:42.:00:45.

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

:00:45.:00:51.

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

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

:00:56.:01:06.
:01:06.:01:20.

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

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

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

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

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

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promising just that. Here's David Whiteley.

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

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

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

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

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

:01:59.:02:05.

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

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

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

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

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

:02:25.:02:32.

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

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

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

:02:38.:02:48.
:02:48.:02:55.

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

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

:02:59.:03:05.

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

:03:05.:03:08.

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

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would disqualify itself. Beryl Shea also had a visit from

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

:03:20.:03:30.
:03:30.:03:34.

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

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

:03:38.:03:48.
:03:48.:03:48.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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was in Bristol. We do seminars like this for

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

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whole room of solicitors all dealing with elderly clients, they

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

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

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

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true. Caroline Bielanska is a solicitor specialising in wills and

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administration of estates. There are lots of professional lawyers

:04:52.:05:02.
:05:02.:05:02.

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

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the Elderly and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners will

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

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

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working understanding of social care assessments and funding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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receiving care, then it's straightforward. The local

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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questions for him. His office said that Universal

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asset protection is totally committed to excellent customer

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

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given specific answers to most of our questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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documentary evidence of local authorities accepting that the

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

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

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

:09:20.:09:25.

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

:09:25.:09:27.

solicitors who knows and understands the rules around this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:10:17.:10:17.

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

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

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

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

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Lawrence Grix is a High Court enforcement officer. He and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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shut in there. High Court enforcement officers like Lawrence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:12:31.:12:34.

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

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

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

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

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be the case. For receiver Ian Walker, businesses

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

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

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

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

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that businesses have been struggling for so long they've

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

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

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

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

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

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harder. Before Lawrence and Kevin sort out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:14:48.:14:58.
:14:58.:15:00.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:15:58.:16:01.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:16:58.:17:02.

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

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

:17:05.:17:09.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:17:39.:17:49.
:17:49.:17:54.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:18:19.:18:25.

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

:18:25.:18:27.

there's anything he can legitimately seize to help Joseph

:18:27.:18:36.

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

:18:36.:18:39.

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

:18:39.:18:43.

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

:18:43.:18:46.

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

:18:46.:18:52.

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

:18:52.:18:55.

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

:18:55.:18:59.

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

:18:59.:19:03.

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

:19:03.:19:07.

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

:19:07.:19:11.

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

:19:11.:19:18.

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

:19:18.:19:23.

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

:19:23.:19:29.

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

:19:29.:19:32.

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

:19:32.:19:35.

instalments. Martin Chapel got his money back and his gardening

:19:35.:19:39.

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

:19:39.:19:41.

former business partner, Mr Chapman, has subsequently been declared

:19:41.:19:46.

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

:19:46.:19:53.

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

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

:19:57.:20:07.
:20:07.:20:08.

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

:20:08.:20:13.

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

:20:13.:20:18.

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

:20:18.:20:23.

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

:20:23.:20:27.

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

:20:27.:20:32.

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

:20:32.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:43.

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

:20:43.:20:46.

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

:20:46.:20:50.

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

:20:50.:20:58.

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

:20:58.:21:01.

anymore because of farming practices. So hedgehogs are now

:21:02.:21:06.

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

:21:07.:21:10.

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

:21:10.:21:13.

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

:21:13.:21:17.

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

:21:17.:21:21.

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

:21:21.:21:26.

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

:21:26.:21:29.

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

:21:29.:21:33.

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

:21:33.:21:38.

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

:21:38.:21:43.

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

:21:43.:21:46.

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

:21:46.:21:48.

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

:21:49.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:21:58.

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

:21:58.:22:02.

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

:22:02.:22:06.

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

:22:06.:22:10.

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

:22:10.:22:13.

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

:22:13.:22:18.

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

:22:18.:22:24.

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

:22:24.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:37.
:22:38.:22:39.

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

:22:39.:22:42.

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

:22:42.:22:46.

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

:22:46.:22:49.

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

:22:49.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:59.

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

:22:59.:23:01.

So while our native British hedgehog might be struggling,

:23:01.:23:07.

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

:23:07.:23:10.

hedgehog show, and taking centre stage and apparently growing in

:23:10.:23:19.

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

:23:19.:23:23.

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

:23:24.:23:28.

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

:23:28.:23:33.

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

:23:33.:23:37.

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

:23:37.:23:39.

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

:23:39.:23:44.

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

:23:44.:23:50.

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

:23:50.:23:56.

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

:23:56.:24:01.

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

:24:01.:24:04.

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

:24:04.:24:10.

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

:24:10.:24:17.

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

:24:17.:24:20.

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

:24:20.:24:30.
:24:30.:24:30.

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

:24:30.:24:35.

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

:24:35.:24:40.

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

:24:40.:24:47.

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

:24:47.:24:53.

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

:24:53.:24:56.

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

:24:56.:25:00.

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

:25:00.:25:04.

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

:25:04.:25:09.

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

:25:09.:25:14.

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

:25:14.:25:19.

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

:25:19.:25:21.

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

:25:21.:25:28.

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

:25:28.:25:32.

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

:25:33.:25:36.

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

:25:36.:25:42.

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

:25:42.:25:46.

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

:25:46.:25:51.

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

:25:51.:25:56.

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

:25:57.:25:59.

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

:26:00.:26:04.

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

:26:04.:26:07.

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

:26:07.:26:13.

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

:26:13.:26:17.

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

:26:17.:26:24.

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

:26:24.:26:27.

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

:26:27.:26:31.

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

:26:31.:26:35.

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

:26:35.:26:40.

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

:26:40.:26:44.

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

:26:44.:26:48.

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

:26:48.:26:51.

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

:26:51.:26:56.

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

:26:56.:26:59.

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

:26:59.:27:04.

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

:27:04.:27:14.
:27:14.:27:14.

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

:27:14.:27:18.

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

:27:18.:27:24.

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

:27:24.:27:27.

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

:27:27.:27:32.

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

:27:32.:27:35.

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

:27:35.:27:39.

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

:27:39.:27:44.

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

:27:44.:27:48.

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

:27:48.:27:53.

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

:27:53.:27:57.

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

:27:57.:28:01.

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

:28:01.:28:09.

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

:28:09.:28:19.
:28:19.:28:20.

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

:28:20.:28:26.

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

:28:26.:28:31.

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

:28:31.:28:40.

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

:28:40.:28:43.

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

:28:43.:28:46.

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