What do you do when you are awarded money in the County Courts but the debtor still won’t pay? You call in The Sheriffs, of course.

After two series of the hit show, the BBC has commissioned four one-hour  ‘specials’ to be broadcast on BBC One at 7 pm from 22nd July 2013, and a third series is also now in production.

Each programme follows High Court Enforcement Officers, authorised by the Ministry of Justice and known since Saxon times as Sheriffs Officers, as they travel across the country attempting to recover debts on behalf of their clients. These are individuals and business owners who have won judgments against third parties, but have been unable to retrieve any of the money awarded to them.

After transferring their judgments to the High Court for enforcement, they’ve turned to Croydon-based Authorised High Court Enforcement Officers, The Sheriffs Office, to get them their money back.

The debtors range from rogue traders right up to well-known multinational corporations, including the world’s largest banks, IT companies and aeroplane manufacturers.

Most are reluctant to pay up despite their legal requirement to do so, and the Sheriffs have to employ a number of tactics to get the debt paid. If payment isn’t forthcoming they have the authority to seize goods, cars, jewellery, or any other asset of value. Frequently they’ll get their money, but not before some difficult confrontations.

The Sheriffs Are Coming is on BBC One at 7 pm on these dates:

  • Monday 22nd July
  • Wednesday 24th July
  • Monday 29th July
  • Wednesday 31st July

Highlights include:

The Sheriffs go to Southend Airport and seize an aeroplane belonging to a debtor who doesn’t want to pay what he owes. Will being grounded do the trick?

Brian Nutter, one of the country’s fastest sheep shearers, was employed by a neighbouring farmer to shear 3000 sheep. After waiting three months for payment, Brian got a judgment and put the Sheriffs on the case - but would they have to seize the sheep?

A couple in West Yorkshire chose the perfect engagement ring, but when they collected it, the diamond was a different colour, weight and clarity to the one they’d bought. Even though the judge ordered the jeweller to pay them back, he still refused. Can the Sheriffs put the sparkle back into love’s young dream?

Janet in Durham bought a horsebox for her daughter, a promising young dressage rider, but it turned out to be a nightmare. The head lights failed leaving them to drive through country roads in the dark. A mechanic said the electrics were so bad everything could go up in flames. Janet took the seller to court and won. But when the Sheriffs arrive, he is less than pleased to see them and calls the police.

Graham runs a pub on the edge of Dartmoor; with sky high electricity costs and frequent power cuts, he needs another option. He chose revolutionary wind turbines, but after waiting a year for installation then finding they didn’t work, Graham had had enough. He asks the Sheriffs for help, but will they be blown away with excuses?

Dr Benedict Henry, a London psychologist, bought a car that was a disaster from day one, needing £2,000 of repairs. When Ben tried to return the car, the dealership refused to fix it or offer a refund. Ben won in court, but the dealers still refused to pay, so now the Sheriffs are on the case but things get a little heated and the police are called.

Hilda Shaw, an 86 year old pensioner from Northampton paid a builder £4,000 out of her savings for repairs to her roof. But his work was shoddy and unnecessary, leaving her roof in a worse state than before.  When the Sheriffs visit the builder, his labourers are there and they’re not happy to see the Sheriffs.

Squatters have moved into the empty Cross Keys pub in Cheyne Walk, London and understandably, the owner wants them out. Armed with a writ of possession the Sheriffs arrive – but can they avoid the booby traps the squatters have set?

Randeep and Amadeep were left heartbroken after the company they selected to record their wedding produced a video nasty and never sent the photographs. In court, the photographer admitted liability and agreed to pay them back - but like the wedding albums, it never materialised.

The role of High Court enforcement

David Carter, CEO of The Sheriffs Office says:

“People assume that winning a judgment against a debtor automatically means they will get paid what they’re owed. They’ve been awarded their judgments fair and square in the Courts and our job is to make sure that these are enforced and our clients are given back what they are owed”.


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