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An Interview With A Crawley Private Investigator
Ever wondered what life is like for the secret detectives living among us? We got the chance to speak to some local Crawley private investigators serving West Sussex who shared some interesting stories and insights into their world. Here’s the interview:
What do you do for a living?
We are Private Investigators
How did you become a PI?
A random phone call several years ago to an associate of a business contact. This led to a meeting, which highlighted our investigative mind-sets. After spending a lot of time eating cold beans and washing with baby wipes, we got the bug! We continued to shadow other PI’s and were lucky enough to spend some time on rural surveillance with a former member of SOCA.
What’s the strangest case you’ve worked on as a Private Investigator in Crawley?
We were approached by a lady who was concerned where her husband was going after work on a Wednesday, as he had been coming home late claiming that he was going for some drinks with colleagues after work, yet she said that he doesn’t drink and he would always come home smelling of perfume. We took the job on and carried out some covert surveillance over several Wednesdays. The target (husband) is in his sixties and his wife was 59. We followed the target from his place of work and to a nearby pub…he stayed in the pub for one non-alcoholic drink with his colleagues and then left shortly after. He drove to a property 6 or 7 miles away, parked outside and knocked on the door. A female lady answered the door and let him in. We picked a good spot from across the road where we could see inside through a window and within minutes the couple were dancing in the living room. To cut a long story short, the target had been secretly learning how to ball dance, so he could surprise his wife for her 60th birthday. When we showed the intelligence to the client, she burst in to tears. It was quite emotional for all of us. The client never told her husband what she had done.
What is the most common brief you get given?
Matrimonial curiosity. This could range from affairs to drug abuse.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The fact that even some of our closest friends and family do not know what we do.
How many cases involve adultery/cheating? And how many marriages have been split up after you’ve found out the truth?
Probably 50% of our cases involve suspicions of adultery. In regards to marriages, we never know as we are paid to provide facts. Our client will then decide for themselves what they decide to do with the intelligence gathered.
Have you had any problems from the people you’ve investigated in the past?
We were contacted by a Geordie chap (from Crawley) to gather some information on his children from his marriage breakup. We carried our due diligence and some desk-based research on this individual, and although his case was complicated, he felt his enquiry was justified. As per usual, we arranged an initial interview to understand more about his enquiry and his expected outcomes. In the interview he offered us a substantial amount of cash (in the 5 figure region) to act as an Agent Provocateur to lure his ex-wife (who lived in Arthurs Hill, Newcastle) in to a situation, that could be used against her in Court so that he could win custody of his children. All we can say, is that the situation he had created was not only highly illegal, but involved firearms. We declined the job on the spot and when doing so we were met with an outburst of swinging fists. Both Scott and I had to restrain the gentleman until he calmed down.
Could there be more than one Crawley Private Investigator working at one time?
This is hard to say, but what we can say is, we regularly deploy surveillance teams of up to eight in the Crawley and surrounding areas.
What are your favourite stories?
Nigel: Me personally, I have one that I won’t ever forget… I was having to deploy a tracking device to a van and things got a little hairy. We ALWAYS have a team of 3 when tagging a vehicle, we need someone to deploy the device and 2 others as eyes whilst doing so. There is a lot of planning involved as it can go wrong very quick. For example, we knew (from our reccy of the property) that this van was parked on a driveway of the targets house, and always reversed in. With this type of van we knew that we had to get to the back as the placement of the tracker needed to be here, so this posed a small problem. I wasn’t looking forward to rooting around the underneath of this van with my feet hanging out right by the front door, as I would have a lot of explaining to do if the target came out. I had to come up with a plan. I decided to use the bush running down one side of the driveway to help cover me whilst I rolled underneath the van from the side and then shuffle on my back to the rear of the vehicle. It was dark and late in the evening and I had to remember by touch where I planned on installing the tracker, as it had to be in a specific spot, and of course no light can be used, it’s too risky. After a minute or two I found where I needed to install it and successfully did so. Seconds after this, the front door opened and the target got in the van and turned on the engine!! I thought ‘this is ridiculous, what are the chances??? What is he doing? Where is he going?’…I laid there flat on my back and tried to remain calm. I couldn’t roll out from the side again as he may see me and he may drive off and I’ll get run over. Seconds later he drove off and made a left hand turn out of his driveway and continued down the road. He didn’t see me, or any of my team. The scary lesson I learned here is that if the van had a tow bar/step attached to the back of it, I would have been seriously injured or possibly killed. If something can happen, it will happen, Murphy’s Law.
Scott: This was a schoolboy error on my part that cost us dearly, however, one for the grandkids…We had a team of 6 waiting to observe a lady that intelligence had told us would be arriving at Stanstead Airport to catch a flight somewhere! We had guys positioned in pre-planned spots around the airport and 2 of us were tasked to not take our eyes of off her. As my partner and I arrived I asked her to take a seat in a wheelchair. The benefits; Well I could leave her just about anywhere without looking suspicious. Our target did arrive, however, she did not check in or go through to departures. She met with two other people and made her way towards the exit of the airport. It was only at the top of the escalators that it dawned on us that an apparently disabled lady cannot miraculously jump up and start running down a flight of stairs, nor could I think of a quick enough reason to abandon my poor disabled lady friend at the top of the escalators !! Red faced I called the job and took it on the chin once we got back to the debrief.
Oliver: A lady had given us permission to enter her property to put eyes and ears inside while her and her husband were abroad. She worked away a lot and had concerns about what he was doing at home while she was away. We had a team of four and I was the first to enter the property and as I opened the door a cat ran out, so I called a description of the animal that had escaped over the radio to the rest of the team so we could get it back and place it back inside of the property. The cat was found and placed back inside around 30mins later after the equipment had been installed into the property. Audio/Visual checks were carried out shortly after…when the client and husband arrived back in the UK we made sure we listened in to the few minutes…the few first words to come out of the husband’s mouth were “What the f*** is that cat doing in here?” …We had lost the client’s cat and put the wrong one back in the house. Again, a red faced situation and the difficulties we face when working through the night.
If you require a private investigator to get to the bottom of the case you’re experiencing, speak to Private Investigator Worthing here: