Bristow & Sutor - Everything you need to know, today

Bristow & Sutor are one of the largest UK debt recovery agencies. If you are in debt, they may contact you to chase up payment if you have accrued debt with a local authority or council.

Bristow & Sutor have authority to act on behalf of 203 councils within England and Wales. Their instruction will be to recover your debt, acting as a bailiff.

Who Are Bristow & Sutor?

Bristow & Sutor are an enforcement agency (bailiffs) who specialise in local authority debt recovery - the local authority consists of the local council or government in your area, so debts to them might include: council tax arrears, housing benefit overpayment, and former tenant arrears. 

They've been operating since 1977. Based in Redditch, Worcestershire, they work extensively in England and Wales with a focus on three main debt types:

They also collect something called 'sundry debt' through the use of another specialist debt collection agency called Credit Security. Debts collected in this way may include former tenant arrears and overpaid housing benefit.

Are Bristow & Sutor Regulated?

Whilst the civil enforcement industry (which includes companies like Bristow & Sutor) doesn't have a formal regulatory body, Bristow & Sutor are members of CIVEA (the Civil Enforcement Agency) - this means they are signatories to the CIVEA Code of Practice. 

Bristow & Sutow are also overseen by an additional regulatory panel that they have instituted themselves, known as the Independent Advice Panel. 

What Types of Debt Do Bristow & Sutor Recover?

Bristow & Sutor recover a variety of different debts, but they're all linked to the local authority, as this is what they specialise in.

Examples of local authority debts include:

  • Council tax arrears
  • Non-domestic rates
  • Penalty charge notices
  • Former tenant arrears
  • Overpaid housing benefit

If you've accrued any of the debts listed above or have been contacted by Bristow & Sutor, our debt management team is available to discuss our debt solutions with you. We understand that all situations are different, depending on the individual, so we're happy to help by giving you the best advice for your situation. 

Apply now and receive a no obligation debt consultation call with a member of our professional and friendly team.

Get in touch today

NDH Financial can help free you from the shackles of your debt.

Call us on 0800 002 9051 or apply below.


Who Do Bristow & Sutor Collect Debt For?

Bristow & Sutor collect debts for local authorities and councils, as this is what they specialise in. This means that if you have any other forms of debt, they shouldn't contact you. 

Things Bristow & Sutor won't collect for include:

When trying to resolve your debt, it might be worthwhile to compile a list of the different creditors and types of debt you have to make the overall process of clearing your debt more manageable.

Can Bristow & Sutor Force Their Way into Your Home?

A common concern among those in debt is that bailiffs like Bristow & Sutor might try and force their way into your home to insist on debt repayment. However, this isn't legal for debt collectors or bailiffs, so if you don't want to let them in, you don't have to.

They have to give you notice before coming to your home, and they can't come to your workplace or speak to your family, friends or neighbours. They're not allowed to act in a threatening or violent way, and they usually can't force entry to your property - it's also illegal for debt collectors to pretend to be bailiffs and try to take goods/assets, so you should be aware of this too.

Can Bristow & Sutor Collect Goods?

One of the main worries people have when an enforcement agency has contacted them is that their possessions may be taken to clear their debt if they can’t immediately pay up. 

Now, though bailiffs can take your possessions, they only have the authority to do so if you let them into the house. They also can’t claim any items that they can’t directly touch, so if they physically can’t access it or inventory it from the window, they can’t take it.

From the doorstep, bailiffs can take a cash payment if you want to pay the debt off instead - always get a receipt if you decide to pay them this way. If a Bristow & Sutor enforcement agent arrives at your property, you should always ask to check their ID and paperwork first - they usually won’t ask for any monetary payments but if they do, it is your choice to pay them off rather than their demand.

Before their visit, you'll also usually be contacted by phone or mail notifying you. If this happens, make sure you check this is a legitimate call. Take a note of the phone number and the details of the advisor to ensure it is not a scam caller pretending to be them.

People often confuse bailiffs like Bristow & Sutor with debt collectors, but they're very different entities, so it's important to make sure you know exactly who you're dealing with.

Can Bristow & Sutor Take Your Car?

Bailiffs like Bristow & Sutor are allowed to take assets like your car, so long as they have access to it or can see it (which is usually a condition that bailiffs must fulfil in order to take your possessions). 

Even if you don’t let them into your property, they may be able to seize your vehicle (so long as it isn’t a mobility device or doesn’t display a blue badge). To avoid this, if you have been contacted by Bristow & Sutor, it would be worthwhile parking your car in a garage if you have one or at a different location.

What Permissions Do Bristow & Sutor Have?

It’s vital that you are aware of both the powers and restrictions that an enforcement agency like Bristow & Sutor has. This way, you can deal with them appropriately if they do contact you.


The first thing to note is that they don't have any legal powers as such, and you don't have to let them into your property - as noted above, without access to your property, they don’t have authority to force entry so you could just choose to ignore them. 

What they can do is reach out to you and, if deemed necessary, take you to court to get the money back. They may even apply for a county court judgement (CCJ). Under the Limitation Act 1980, the statute of limitations for debt recovery is 6 years, so it’s within their right to chase you for this full period if you don’t pay up.

There are some rare occasions in which a bailiff can instruct a locksmith to open the property and gain access, but this only happens with certain types of debt (unpaid criminal fines, income tax and stamp duty) and is very rare and likely wouldn’t occur with the debts Bristow & Sutor claim for.


Depending on your debt amount, bailiffs will usually take items considered to be luxurious, such as televisions, games consoles and other forms of technology. There are some things they can’t handle, which include pets, mobility vehicles/vehicles displaying a blue badge, work tools and equipment, essential domestic items (fridges, ovens, etc.), and items that are owned by another party, even if that person is your spouse. 

They also can’t enter your property between 9 pm and 6 am, and you don’t have to let them in if there are vulnerable people in the property, such as the elderly or children.

Apply Today

Get in touch with NDH Financial today for a free consultation about your debts.

Call us on 0800 002 9051 or apply below.


Can You Write Off Debt with Bristow & Sutor?

You can write off debt with a bailiff like Bristow & Sutor if you want to. If your possessions are calculated as being worth the same amount or more than the debt you have, you could allow them to take these goods to clear the debt. Something that a lot of people also aren’t aware of is that you can choose to pay off your debt with a monetary payment, although this isn’t something the bailiff has to agree to. 

Bristow & Sutor offer a payment option on their website - however, this can sometimes be done in person too. If you decide to pay them, you need to make sure you get a receipt and take a record of the payment. There will also be fees added to the debt as Bristow & Sutor take fees in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.

If you aren’t able to pay the debt off in full or don’t want to give your goods up, you may be better off looking for alternative options - NDH Financial specialise in IVAs, which are a way of consolidating your debts into one easy package. More information about IVAs can be found in our IVA learning hub.

How NDH Financial can help you with your debt 

If you’ve been contacted by a bailiff like Bristow & Sutor and want to pay off your debt, NDH Financial are here to help! As we employ a licensed insolvency practitioner, we’re able to provide professional support and propose an IVA on your behalf. 

We work with our customers throughout the entire journey to make it as easy and painless as possible. If an IVA isn’t for you, there are other debt solutions that might be worth considering.

If you want to start the process of becoming debt-free, book your free no-obligation consultation call today.

Do You Have Any More Questions?

Our IVA Learning Hub Can Help

We know you might have questions and that’s fine.

We can answer most of those on our call.

But we’ve also built our learning hub so that you can learn more about an IVA and see if one is right for you.

Click below to check it out.