Need Help With Bristow & Sutor Bailiffs?

Been contacted by Bristow and Sutor about your debt? We understand that you’re probably feeling extremely worried. Debt collection can take many forms, but here at IVA Helpline, we can guide you through every facet of it. Facing your debt doesn’t have to be a journey you make alone.

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about this agency – what to do when you’re contacted by them, the legal powers they have, and what they can and can’t do with your property. We’ve also included a handy FAQ for any lingering questions you may have.

When it comes to debt, there is always a solution with IVA Helpline – contact us now on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our friendly team, and begin your journey towards a debt-free life.

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Who Are Bristow And Sutor?

Bristow and Sutor are an enforcement agency. An enforcement agency is what is commonly known or what used to be known as bailiffs. So, this basically means that they are a company that collects money from people who are in debt, on behalf of other companies, or in this case, local authorities.

For example, if you have missed payments on your council tax and your local authority has had no success when chasing you for the payments, they will seek the help of a debt recovery agency such as Bristow and Sutor.

Based in Redditch, Worcestershire, Bristow and Sutor bailiffs have been specialising in local authority debt recovery since 1977. They work all over England and Wales collecting three main types of debt on behalf of local authorities, these are:

  • Council Tax payments
  • Non-Domestic Rates
  • Penalty Charge Notices, such as parking fines

As well as this, they also collect Sundry Debts, which includes things like leases, rent, or overpayment of benefits.

The agency directly employs its enforcement agents to make sure it has full control and operates to the highest standards.


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Our trained advisors are here to help, so if you think an IVA proposal is one of the best debt solutions for you, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our trained debt advisors or click below to see if you qualify…

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What Do Bristow And Sutor Do?

Bristow and Sutor debt on behalf of local authorities – this includes payments for council tax and unpaid parking fines. The company directly employs its enforcement agents, meaning that they are legally responsible for their actions and have a responsibility towards the people they are collecting debt from.

Bristow and Sutor specialise in collecting debt for local authorities so this includes payments such as missed Council Tax payments, unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) such as parking tickets, and Business Rates – this is the tax applied to the occupation of a commercial property, also known as non-domestic rates.

As well as this, they also collect debts including Overpaid Housing Benefits (OPHB) and Former Tenant Arrears (FTA). Chances are you will be very aware if you are in debt and have struggled with payments to your local authority, so to hear from enforcement agencies may not come as a total surprise.

It’s important that you don’t ignore any contact and you deal with your outstanding debt.

Bristow and Sutor’s enforcement agents always behave with integrity and are sensitive to the people they are recovering debt from. The company ensures that it helps and directs people towards free, third-party advice as well as offering its own support and advice to debtors where it can.

Is Bristow And Sutor A Legitimate Enforcement Agency?

Though Bristow and Sutor are a legitimate enforcement agency, the civil enforcement industry doesn’t have a formal regulatory body. Instead, they come under the regulation of the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA).

Bristow and Sutor employ around 2000 certificated enforcement agents in England and Wales and are required to follow the CIVEA Code of Practice – if you believe one of their employees are not following the Code of Practice, you can and should report them to CIVEA.

As well as this, Bristow and Sutor are overseen by its own Independent Advice Panel, which is an additional regulatory control the company implemented to ensure that it is always working with its customers’ best interests at heart.

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What Powers Do Bristow And Sutor Have?

Home entry

If you are in debt with the local authority, you should have been informed about it – although chances are you will know if you are behind on your council tax yourself.

The enforcement agency will send letters on behalf of the local authorities and inform you of the debt you owe. These letters will also warn you that the enforcement agency will be visiting your property and you should be prepared for this.

They will give you at least seven days’ notice to let you know that they will be visiting your home. However, when the enforcement agents do pay you a visit, they are not allowed to force their way into your home unless they are collecting:

  • Unpaid criminal fines
  • Income Tax
  • Stamp Duty

In these cases, you will still get a warning letter telling you when they are going to visit, and the agent will only be allowed to use reasonable force to enter your property – this usually means using a locksmith, being invited in, or entering through an unlocked door.

They are not allowed to break down your door, climb through a window or barge past you when you open the door.

If you owe money on council tax, Penalty Charge Notices, or non-domestic rates then an enforcement agent from Bristow and Sutor is not allowed to force entry into your home at all to collect the money you owe. Again, they cannot push past someone who has opened the door to them and they cannot force entry even with reasonable force such as using a locksmith.

Removal of goods

When an enforcement agent does enter your property, they are allowed to remove goods that add up to the value of the debt that you owe. This could be your TV, computer, laptop, tablet, furniture, or any other items of value but they cannot take items that are deemed essential – more on that later.

The enforcement agent could, however, take your car from outside your house. Once the agent has taken the items that add up to the value of the debt you owe, they take these items to be sold at auction to cover your payments.

You should receive a notification of the date of the auction and where your goods are being sold because obviously if you have sorted out alternative funds from somewhere you can buy your goods back.

These people are highly trained and are sensitive to your situation – they are not going to come into your home and destroy the place or threaten you. Ignore what you have seen on television, and remember that Bristow and Sutor’s agents are bound by the CIVEA Code of Practice to behave with integrity and operate to the highest standards.

There is nothing to be afraid of – while it is a difficult time for you, all the agents and enforcement agencies want to do is to cover the payment and resolve the situation.

Call us on 0800 464 7235

Our trained advisors are here to help, so if you think an IVA proposal is one of the best debt solutions for you, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 464 7235 to speak to one of our trained debt advisors or click below to see if you qualify…

Check if you qualify

Which Debts Do Bristow And Sutor Bailiffs Collect?

Council tax debts

If you’ve fallen behind with your council tax payments and the council have been unable to collect the arrears from you, then they will seek the help of an enforcement agency such as Bristow and Sutor.

If you cannot afford to pay the money you owe for your council tax and have reached the stage where an enforcement agency is attempting to collect it, you can no longer sort out the debt with the council.

The agency now owns the debt – but you can arrange a manageable payment plan with them to avoid losing your belongings.

Parking tickets

Similarly, if you have unpaid parking tickets, the local authority will pass this debt onto an enforcement agency such as Bristow and Sutor.

It’s likely that the amount you owe for the parking ticket will have increased (which is why it is always advised to pay it as soon as you receive the ticket).

The enforcement agency adds on their own costs for collecting the fine and this is payable by you rather than the local authority. As with any other debt, the agency will contact you before and ask for you to pay before they visit your home.

Business rates

If your business owes money for business rates, then Bristow and Sutor can visit your business premises. and just as with other debts, they can ask you to repay the money you owe plus their collection fees.

Before they visit your premises, they will contact you and ask you for repayment in full or will arrange a repayment plan with you. If you ignore their contact requests then this is when you will receive a visit from them.

County Court rulings

Bristow and Sutor are also registered to collect County Court debts. Even with payments you owe to the country court, Bristow and Sutor are required to give you at least seven days notice of their first visit.

Again, this is a payment which you will already know about and shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, if it does, then you can ask for proof so that you know it is your debt and that there hasn’t been some mistake.

Why Do Local Councils Use Bristow And Sutor For Debt Collection?

Bristow and Sutor are used by local councils because they have an excellent reputation for recovering debt.

Councils are extremely busy organisations and not only do Bristow and Sutor have a proven high record and consistent collection rates but they also use the latest technology to ensure the best results.

The agency is constantly developing and improving their in-house systems and processes and has dedicated IT support, led by a Chief Technical Officer with a history of driving technological transformation projects.

Do You Need To Let A Bristow And Sutor Debt Collector Into Your Home?

You don’t need to let a Bristow and Sutor debt collector into your home – but if you don’t then it will take longer for the situation to be resolved.

Whether it is a dispute over a council tax bill or any other outstanding debt, it is much better to speak to the enforcement agent and come to an agreement rather than ignore the issue.

Collection agencies are aware of your situation, and they will understand that the debt recovery process can be an upsetting one.

However, your debt won’t magically go away so – if a debt collector does come to your door, then it is better to open it and to let them in and work out how to solve the problem rather than to make it worse.

What Can Bristow And Sutor Bailiffs Take From Your Home?

Bristow and Sutor are allowed to take any non-essential items from your home, which they can then auction to recover the cost of your debt. These can include but are not limited to non-essential electronics, furniture, designer clothing, and so on.

It’s important to know that Bristow and Sutor or any other enforcement agency cannot take anything that doesn’t belong to the person who is the debtor. Unfortunately, though this can be difficult as it is up to the debtor to prove that the items belong to someone else rather than for the agent to prove it belongs to the debtor.

As mentioned earlier, there are some items that enforcement agents from Bristow and Sutor are not allowed to take and these are essential items such as:

  • Kitchen appliances
  • Assistance dogs
  • Things which are necessary for your work, up to a value of £1,350
  • Bedding
  • Medical equipment

They are not going to take anything that will put your life in danger or that will stop you from earning money to make a living. All that the agents are looking to do is to cover the cost of the amount you owe.

Do You Have To Pay Bristow And Sutor?

If you owe a debt to your local authority and it has been passed to Bristow And Sutor to collect then you have a responsibility to pay this debt to them.

If you’re unsure of the debt and don’t think it is yours then you can ask for proof of the debt. Once you receive this, it’s best to just pay, so you can move on with your life.

However, if you can’t afford to repay the debt in full then you can set up a repayment plan with Bristow and Sutor so that you can pay in smaller chunks over a certain period of time. You will have to discuss with the enforcement officer and come to a suitable agreement together.


What To Do If You’re In Debt With Bristow And Sutor?

The most important thing is that you don’t ignore them! When you receive a letter or warning from Bristow and Sutor, even if you don’t think the debt is yours, the best thing to do is to talk to them as soon as you can to try and resolve the situation.

If you ignore the letters then the debt will not go away and having it hanging over you could really affect your mental health.

Talk to Bristow and Sutor and come to an arrangement, it’s far better for both parties if you face it and to get it resolved as quickly as possible.

How Can IVA Helpline Help?

Here at IVA Helpline, we know how difficult it can be to finally face your debt and do something about it. That’s why our friendly team are here to help you when you’re ready.

Our experts have years of experience in all areas of debt and debt recovery. When you talk to us, you know you’re getting reliable and helpful advice that will see you on the road to being debt-free. We pride ourselves on providing a judgement-free, empathetic space for all our customers.

Get In Touch With Us Today For Accurate, Non-Judgemental Advice

Remember that you’re not the only person in this situation – debt is a common issue for many around the world. Though there are many people who are living with debt, there are even more people who have paid their debt and are now living a debt-free life.

With our advice, you can join them. We’ve helped hundreds pay off their debt with our expert services. If you feel ready to take that next step, get in touch with us here at IVA Helpline on 0800 464 7235.

Frequently asked questions

  • Will Bristow and Stutor take my car if I don’t let them in?

    An enforcement agent is allowed to take your car. This is because cars are usually of some value, and they are also an easy item to seize and easy to sell on, too. While enforcement agents are allowed to take cars and other vehicles, there are certain rules they have to follow such as: 

    An enforcement agent can only take control of a vehicle that is owned solely or jointly by the debtor – they can’t just take any car they find parked at your house. 

    A car belonging to a third party cannot be taken. If you have a company car or a hire purchase agreement, then they cannot take it.  

    They also cannot take a car that displays a Blue Badge.

    However, if you come to an agreement with the agent about your debt, how you’re going to pay it and sign a controlled goods agreement, then your vehicle won’t be seized – providing you stick to your payments and keep to the agreement made.

  • What happens if I don’t pay a council parking ticket?

    If you don’t pay a parking ticket fine from the council, they will contact you to remind you and to ask you for the payment. If you still fail to pay the fine, the council will pass the debt on to a debt recovery agency such as Bristow and Sutor to collect it for them.

  • Who do Bristow and Sutor collect for?

    Bristow and Sutor collect for local authorities for payments such as unpaid council tax, unpaid parking fines, unpaid business rates and other Sundry Debts, which includes things like leases, rent, or overpayment of benefits. 

  • Should I ignore Bristow and Sutor bailiffs?

    You should never ignore bailiffs. If you don’t feel ready to let them into your home then make sure you call the collection agency to make an agreement with them and to stop the enforcement agent from coming to your home again.

    Your debt will not go away if you ignore it, so whether it is a council tax debt, an unpaid parking fine or you have defaulted on business rates, it’s better to face the situation head-on and come to an arrangement with the enforcement agencies.

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