Solicitor Support: An ‘Agent-Led Trace’ Case Study

We offer a variety of different support services to solicitors and law firms throughout Newcastle, Tyne and Wear and the rest of the North East. The two that we are most prolifically engaged for service on is our process serving and our various types of people tracing. This week we’re going to look at a successful agent-led trace we carried out for one of our solicitor clients on a particularly slippery character.

An agent-led trace is different to the electronic trace we carry out, although the latter IS the most common we’re asked to do.

An electronic trace involves lawfully compliant open source searches being carried out across the internet and publicly accessible databases to glean information that we can use to confirm a person’s whereabouts. All information is double-sourced for veracity.

An agent-led trace involves all that comes with an electronic trace but we ‘get out on the ground’ at any affirmed address and make some physical localised enquiries and provide 2 – 4 hours of directed surveillance in order to photograph or video the target for absolute confirmation of their whereabouts.

On this particular case, our target had ran a series of businesses into the severe debt and provided a family address to his lenders as his contact/correspondence address but he actually disappeared off elsewhere and ducked out on paying his debts and loan requirements. Surmount came to represent the solicitors facilitating the return of monies owed by the target to the property letting company he owed rent to on his business sites.

We quickly found an address option for the target that was down in Hartlepool. We knew what type of car he drove and that he was being extremely purposeful in avoiding this also being repossessed by bailiffs for not keeping up on the payments. So off to Hartlepool we went to stake out the address at the break of dawn. We got a beautifully clear shot of our man opening up his garage, driving out the Jaguar he’d claimed to have long since sold and heading off out the street.

We stuck around long enough to see and photograph the lady he was co-habiting with leave the address too and we logged which car in the street she went and got in. Then once the coast was clear, we took to knocking on a few doors purposefully getting the ‘numbers wrong’ for who we were looking for. In less than 15 minutes we’d had three separate confirmations that the guy we were looking for lived where we thought and one confirmed that he ran a tanning salon in Hartlepool city centre… so we headed down there and got a few shots of him working inside there too!

We reported all of our findings back to our client and a consolidated and coordinated operation was planned, with Surmount leading, in which our agents and bailiffs who’d been seeking the target came together to execute warrants and repossess goods in one go at the same time.

In that situation, you could rightfully ask what Surmount did differently to any other agency or outlet seeking the gentleman in question. We looked on the same databases and clicked through the same websites as anyone else could’ve done. Too many before us though had been too quick to discount information and intelligence – “He’ll not be living with her. We got told they’d broke up ages ago!” and “He’ll not be down in Hartlepool. It’s too far from his usual haunts.” were things we heard far too often – without ever getting confirmation it was rightful to do so.

The simple answer is here at Surmount we refuse to discount ANY intelligence until we ourselves have confirmed it to be of no use. We will always endeavour to follow every lead. That’s why our results are as high as they are. And that’s why we frequent the A1 as often as we do in the ‘Surmount-Mobile’.

Because we chase down the facts.