yourself on the runway of a developing nation’s airport about to
repossess some long-sought asset, only to be surrounded by a
private militia wielding former Soviet machine guns?
Perhaps you’ve turned up at a
premises in Middlesbrough to collect a car only to be threatened
with grievous bodily harm by a former client turned menacing
Whatever your Collections
Nightmare we at Leasing Life are looking for the worst
repossession tales from anywhere in Europe for this diary page, so
get in touch if you have a horror story worth sharing, or perhaps a
leasing myth that you’ve heard.
We look forward to sharing your
This month George Ashworth,
head of asset finance at Aldermore, remembers a dark
weekend in the Welsh Valleys. Horrifying.
“The collection of exotic cars,”
recalls Ashworth. “In my day this was always to be undertaken on a
Friday afternoon or early evening. Subject to a successful
repossession being completed, this meant you had use of the vehicle
over the weekend.
“Being a single man in those days
and of course impressionable, it was always nice to be able to have
a rather impressive motor car for the weekend, particularly on a
“It brings tears to my eyes just
remembering how flexible one had to be!”
Were they tears of terror? Read
“When in the employ of Mercantile
Credit, a colleague [Alex Badran] and I once went up to Trevethin
[near Pontypool in south Wales] to repossess a car.
“We were repossessing from a miner,
which at the height of the coal strike was not the smartest thing
we ever attempted. Trevethin may have improved since, but in 1980
it was a pretty scary place to be of an evening.”
Although few travellers return from
such places, Collections Nightmares understands it is
Our brave explorers found some sort
of residence after an hour of touring around an estate, despite
clear signs someone or something – perhaps a disembodied evil
presence – was working against them.
“All the street name plates had
been removed, plus it was pitch black given all the street lights
had been smashed,” reveals Ashworth, “but we eventually found the
“It was pouring with rain and in
this part of the valleys it was not unusual for there to be steps
leading down from the road to the front door.
“The stairs were like a river and
at the bottom of the stairwell it was like a swimming pool.
“Both Alex and I, who were suited
and booted, were standing up to our ankles in filthy water. The
experience was shared with a number of rats swimming around our
feet as we waited for the door to be answered.
“Eventually we heard someone coming
to the door shouting at the top of his voice.
“We looked at one another and
without speaking legged it up the stairs as fast as we could,
jumped in the car and scorched off leaving the repossession to be
done by braver men than us.”
Ashworth clears his throat with a
“Whoever it was sounded big and
On the basis we can assuage our
fears through shared experience, Kevin Davidson, managing
director of Premier Asset Finance, returns to
Collections Nightmares with a similar tale of terror in
“Working for North West Securities
back in the 80s and 90s, two nights a week were set aside for
default calling and repossessions.
tracking a guy [a local gangster] who was hiding a Toyota Supra
On the case, Davidson discovered
the reprobate would only park his car close to his flat after 9pm
and then drive it away early in the morning to avoid his wheels,
furry dice and all, being taken.
“With the help of a friendly dealer
I got a key cut using the chassis number as we didn’t need a court
order to repossess. So sure enough the car appeared around
Seemingly overcome by the haunting
memory, Davidson compares his experience to a 1987 Emilio Estevez
“It was like a scene from the film
Stakeout,” suggests Davidson, “my rep and I waited for
three hours until the lights in his flat went out, we had a flask
of tea, binoculars and my wife’s best carrot cake.
“The car was literally parked
underneath his bedroom window. I crept up to the side of the car
and put in the key. I actually could feel my heart beating with the
adrenalin pumping hard through my body.
“I turned the key so gently only to
be greeted by the loudest ear piercing alarm I have ever heard, I
am sure this alarm had a built-in amplifier. I tried to open the
car door but it was not budging an inch, my rep by this time had
fled towards our stake-out car.
“I kept trying the key but to no
avail suddenly I looked up and the block of flats was lighting up
like a Xmas tree and to cap it all our friendly client was now at
his bedroom shouting at the top of voice what he was going to do to
me, which I took as my sign to exit the scene.”
Got a Collections
Nightmare? Contact: email@example.com