Silver anniversary for ‘sheriff’ Claire
One of the country’s longest serving High Court Enforcement Officers is celebrating 25 years in the business by embarking on a major expansion programme.

Claire Sandbrook was 18 when she joined law firm Burchell and Ruston as an audio typist, eventually training as a lawyer and becoming one of the two partners that run the firm, which was renamed earlier this year as Shergroup.

The company is now the UK’s largest provider of county court and high court enforcement services, employing 100 people in London, Leeds, Colchester and Delhi. Its Sherforce division recovers debts, while its Sherbond division removes squatters and travellers.

Clients range from businesses and local authorities, to landlords and commercial property agents. The company also runs the National Information Centre for Enforcement and the Sheriffs’ Lodgment Centre in London.

Claire, who is Chief Executive of Shergroup, said: “We have been able to take advantage of changes in legislation which mean that claimants can use High Court Enforcement Officers from different counties, as opposed to previously when they were forced to use the High Sheriff of their own county.”

“As such, we felt that an appropriate way to celebrate my silver anniversary in the industry was to expand the business even further, adding a range of new services and building partnerships with other companies.”

A recent example is the forming of a strategic alliance with Drakes, the biggest civil enforcement agency, to create a national force that is able to provide a wider range of services and additional benefits.

Claire was the first ever female Under Sheriff of a county, in Surrey. She held the role for seven years until 2005, when she handed over the baton to business partner John Hargrove.

While Under Sheriff, part of her role was to support the High Sheriff role which, at the beginning of her tenure was held by musician Richard Stilgoe, before he nominated actress Penelope Keith, better known as “Margot” in the Good Life.

“They were absolutely wonderful people to work with and very dedicated, raising lots of money for charity in the process, and took the role extremely seriously,” Claire said.

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