“Britain’s Scariest Repo Man” has revealed some of the tricks he uses to get cars and even entire restaurants back from defaulting payers.
Sean James says he’s repossessed in the region of 100,000 cars and has fought angry customers who came at him with guns and samurai swords in a bid to hang on to their motors.
Sean spent five years in the Royal Navy, before getting himself a job at a private detective agency. He quickly set up on his own, and learned some valuable lessons about human nature.
“The first job I had, this bloke had ripped his business partner off so we had to serve a warrant,” he told James English, in a new podcast titled "Britain's Scariest Repo Man. “I remember going to the door, this woman came out and she was crying ‘Oh, the b******’s left me for another woman’ and all that, and I said’I feel sorry for you’ and went back to the solicitor’s.”
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But the solicitor told Sean that he had been duped and the bloke really was still living there. “I was so naive, I told them she was such a nice woman…”
The solicitor made it clear that if Sean didn’t complete the contract, he’ never get another one, so he parked up outside the target’s house at 4am. Then, at around 6:30, Sean saw a bloke coming out of the front door and heading for a corner shop.
“I thought ‘you cheeky c***.’ As he came out of the shop I said ‘Dave! Dave it’s me, Jimmy!’” The bloke, of course, didn’t recognise Sean, but the hulking process server said again ”Are you Dave Smith?” and as soon as the baffled target said “yes,” Sean handed him the legal paperwork and said “I’m a process server, this is a warrant… and tell your missus she’s f*****g good at lying.”
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Sometimes, though, Sean has to rely on his fists rather than his quick thinking.
In one case, he had been handed the keys to a van that he’d been ordered to take back. Keen to avoid a fight, he decided to unlock it and push it a little way away from the bloke’s house so as not to be heard. It was a good plan, In theory.
“I jumped in the car, turned the key and the c*** had left the stereo on. As soon as I turned the key it came on full blast – ‘LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL’ – I was punching the stereo!
“I managed to punch the stereo off… got the car and got it back to the solicitor and said ‘was that legal?’” It turned out to be something of a legal grey area, but nevertheless, Sean has managed to turn his gift for repossessing cars into a long and lucrative career.
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It wasn’t always just a car he had to repossess. In one case it was an entire restaurant. Sean rang ahead in that case to warn the owner of a posh Italian eatery that he owed £30k on his tables and chairs.
The restauranteur wasn’t best pleased, telling Sean “you f***ing come down here, and I’ll smash your f***ing head in”. He decided to turn up with a lorry, and a couple of mates, to reclaim the goods.
Sean and his pals H and Dave rolled up in their hired 18-ton truck to find the restaurant was packed and that the staff were far too busy to listen to reason.
He said: “I just stood in the middle of the restaurant and said ‘Right ladies and gentlemen, I’d just like to tell you this restaurant's closed, everything's going so f*** off’.”
“We started getting people's plates as they were eating, we were putting their plates on the floor to pick the tables up and started walking out … getting the chairs and everything.”
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Furious customers started leaving without paying their bills. “We cleaned the whole restaurant out,” Sean says. “About 30 tables, maybe 120 chairs…”
Sean and his pals went next door to the café that was also owned by the Italian bloke and repossessed the coffee machine, with staff even making them a coffee before they unplugged dit. It was about that point that the fuming restaurant-owner turned up.
He wasn’t quite so interested in fighting it out when he was faced with three ex-servicemen and suddenly became quite reasonable.
Sean shared more anecdotes from his colourful life on a long-running series of reality shows for Channel 4 and Discovery , and has popped up as an extra in a few movies as well, including Morbius and the Star Wars spinoff movie Solo.
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