Stand-over men can be pretty intimidating. In any gangster movie, they’re always huge blokes who appear to want the debtor to slip up rather than pay up. But despite their strong presence, little is known about what goes through their minds. They may have a tough exterior but as you’re about to see there is a softer, more humanized side to these blokes. Our subject is known as the ‘UK’s Scariest Debt Collector’, a title that was bestowed on him after a 5-year stint in the clink for firearms offenses related to his work with Liverpool-based crime gangs.
His real name is Shaun Smith, and his job as an independent contractor is to collect outstanding payments owed to his employers. Of his work, Smith said: “For the ordinary man in the street who’s owed a few quid and wants fast results, there’s me. I’m cheaper than a solicitor and quicker than a County Court Judgment.I’m good at my job because I’ll do whatever it takes to make them cough up”.
With regards to his wicket: “I might take a few grand up front to cover my expenses, then 20 to 30 percent of the debt when it’s claimed. That debt is signed over to me, so I’m not collecting a debt for my client, I’m collecting it for myself and I will never go away or stop until I get what is mine.” But it hasn’t all been one-way traffic. Shaun has been on the receiving end of both emotional and physical trauma over the years:
“By the time I was 24 I’d seen men get burned, cut up, mutilated, stabbed, shot and even raped to make them pay up. I’m not saying I’ve done any of that. But I’ve seen it done.” “I’ve had my fingers broken, I’ve been shot at, been kidnapped, locked in a container which was blasted with shotguns and rammed with cars. My car was blown up. I’ve had a £100,000 contract on my head. I should be dead.”
A more reflective Smith says: “I’m not proud of what I’ve done but I think all those people deserved it. It didn’t happen to school teachers, lollipop men and normal people who sit behind desks. It happened to villains and nasty people.” Check out the fascinating doco below where he confronts people pedaling steroid in a local gym.