We’re often told how ‘exciting’ our job must be as PIs and asked what a typical day is like for a private investigator. In truth, no two days are often the same and at Surmount we frequently break our days into different facets:
We have ‘Operational’ days, where we are out on the ground completing surveillance or investigative enquiries. We have what we call ‘Paper’ days, where we are office based completing electronic enquiries or putting together the required paperwork for future process serves, due diligence on upcoming jobs and the like. We have what we nickname ‘Promo’ days, where we’re out networking or promoting the Surmount brand. But we also have days where all types converge and we’re bouncing around all over the region.
For this week’s blog we thought we’d dip into the diary from a few weeks back and show you one such day in the life of an investigator at Surmount when all different types converge and the variety we can get up to as a result.
Wednesday 28th February 2018
The ‘Beast From The East’ is in full swing and causing havoc to travel and businesses around the North East. A networking event we were scheduled to attend through The North-East Chamber of Commerce has had to be cancelled and there’s mass delays on the A1 and A19, along with all roads leading out of the city itself. The last few days have seen us have to put back or rearrange intended jobs to fit our client’s needs, target locations, etc. that are being affected by the snow storms.
We head out, having prepped all of our paperwork the night before and hoping that a post rush hour start might serve us well in getting caught up on stuff we’ve had to put back the previous day. Our first stop of the day is to serve a Winding Up petition on a company in Sunderland. Winding Up petitions need to be served during office hours and ideally at the registered address for the company so we’re shooting to get there first thing. We’ve made a ‘safety-check’ phone call to ensure the company has not closed due to the weather. They’re open. We head out and what should take us about 30 minutes from our office takes us over an hour and fifteen minutes.
We complete the serving of the Winding Up petition and were meant to be attending a networking event with the Chamber of Commerce but because that has been cancelled due to the weather it leaves us in a position of being able to make back time lost through delayed travel. We head on to the next job on the docket which involves a speculative enquiry for one of insurance contractors as part of our Insurer Support Services: They believe their client is fraudulently claiming their car has been made “undrivable” from a collision but has in fact only suffered minor damage and they are still actually driving around in it. The insurance company’s claim management team do not believe the submitted photographs from their client are of the actual vehicle itself. The V5 documents, etc. all look knowingly fake. This is one of the more bizarrely presented cases we’ve received from an insurer of recent.
We travel on from Sunderland to Boldon Colliery, park up and sight the vehicle in question on the drive of the target address. It is indeed in a far better condition than has been reported to the insurer. The sludge on the tires and fresh wet dirt around the chassis suggest it has been driven recently in the adverse weather conditions. We covertly photograph the vehicle from a safe distance and are luckily enough to hang around at the scene long enough to see someone get in it and drive it away which we quickly video and photograph.
We grab some food to eat on the move as we head back north of the Tyne in order to make a 1pm meeting we have with a potential solicitor client.
We meet with a solicitor and her team from a leading North East law firm and promote Surmount’s Solicitor Support Services to them over the course of a very fruitful forty minute meeting that will ultimately lead on to some great work opportunities going forward.
We’ve got a busy afternoon ahead and the motorway seems to be a lot more tolerable around this time. We’ve got to ensure that we’re in Wallsend exactly at 1430hrs as we have to check in on a target for a client in an ongoing fraudulent injury surveillance operation we are doing. This is part of the Covert Surveillance Service we offer to both individuals and businesses.
We land in our designated spot in Wallsend. Our client is being sued by the target we’re observing who claims that they have been left unable to walk properly, work or even leave the house as a result of a serious injury they sustained on our client’s premises. However, our client has received information that they frequent Wallsend Golf Club and nearby gym facilities every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Our client has confirmed that with golfing cancelled due to the weather, the target is meeting friends at the gym at 1430hrs today. We get in position with covert cameras stabilised in order to perfectly capture the target’s gait, pace, posture etc. as they walk towards us. We have their vehicle details so are able to mark their arrival on site and get footage of them driving in, getting out and walking quickly and effortlessly to meet friends. We then later snatch a couple of pictures of the target working out with his friends and leave.
We have a pre-repossession report to complete on behalf of one of property agent clients as part of our Landlord & Letting Support Services. It’s up in Cramlington and once we’re off the motorway the conditions are pretty treacherous getting us through to the estate where the target address is located. We get there and make contact with the current resident of the address and are able to gain entry with their permission to sit and discuss rehousing options and the details of any vulnerable adults or pets living there.
As is often the case with completing our pre-repossession reports, we’re able to encourage the defaulter to make contact there and then with our client to discuss imperative repayment options in order to stave off eviction / repossession proceedings this time.
We arrive back at our office, complete our notes for the day’s cases with a view to getting them formulated properly the next day, get our Certificate of Service completed, exhibited and signed for the process serve we’ve carried out so that it can go straight off to our solicitor client the next morning.
The lights go out at Surmount HQ and we are thankfully done for the day and heading home to defrost.
…. And so there you have it. Not every day is as busy as this but it is often as varied and interesting with the same thread running throughout – someone personally or professionally has a problem and they need assistance in bringing about a solution… and that’s where we come in!