September 2 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Monday, March 31, 2014
A lipstick mark on the collar, that incriminating earring found down the side of the bed – these are the ways we expect cheating lovers to be found out. Not through high-tech surveillance and hours of snooping by a paid professional.
-Becoming less interested in the other than usual
-Coming home late from work
-Hiding their phone
-Spending long hours on the Internet
-Working away a lot
-Eager to start fights and prone to mood swings
-Caught lying about where they have been
-Caught with an unexplained receipt or gift on a bank statement
But this is exactly what private detectives are employed to do.
The Recorder spoke to local snoop The Essex Investigator, whose name we can’t reveal for fear of reprisals, to learn more about his mysterious trade.
At the time, he was in the back of his shabby looking van covered in builders’ branding.
The truth is he was in the midst of a 16-hour surveillance session and that “builders” van contains £70,000 of equipment, including seven CCTV cameras that record the outside world.
The detective divulged more about a case he has been working on in Ilford.
“Here’s an interesting one,” he says. “Last week, a wife suspected her husband was seeing prostitutes. He’s a black cab driver.
“On Saturday night she had us following him around in a black cab. She’s paying for another black cab to follow him around, with me in it, to see what he does,” he says. “We know he’s seeing prostitutes. We’ve seen him going into three different brothels.”
The detective works all over Redbridge, as well as Havering, Essex and much of Kent.
He tells a tale of another couple in Havering where one half had a well-covered secret.
“A couple in their 60s, straight-laced church-going types. She had suspicions, you’d have no idea,” he says.
The Investigator bugged the husband’s laptop.
“We found he was using gay websites. I did some surveillance and found out he was going cottaging where they meet up with blokes in fields for sex. She thought he had badminton on a Tuesday night.”
This kind of work is not uncommon however.
He says: “Ninety per cent of the matrimonial cases where the client believes their partner is cheating, they are right.
“Normally I prove it in less than 48 hours. It’s sad but it’s the reality. I do it most weekends now.”
There is, of course, the other 10 per cent who are wrong. One woman has sent him off to Marbella to find out what her husband gets up to when he’s away. The Investigator had his five-star hotel, top-class meals and all his expenses paid for.
“He was playing golf every day with his mates,” the Investigator says. “She’s talking about doing Marbella again this year. I’ve done quite a few for her when he goes away on business and he’s never done anything wrong. I’ve seen so much of the guy I feel like I know him.”
The Investigator, in his thirties, often dressed as a builder, and a team of ex-special forces and ex-police officers, work across the region on matrimonial cases.
But they also uncover benefits scammers and search City boardrooms for hidden microphones used by rival companies to steal ideas.
But how did he get into the job?
He says: “I started off when I left school. The only thing I knew how to do was steal cars so I started up a business repossessing cars. Part of repossessing vehicles is having to find them, so I got good at finding people and following them back to their cars so I could repossess them.
“But after that I was being asked, ‘can you find this person or that person?’ Soon it evolved to what I do now.”
Bugging people’s homes and vehicles sounds of questionable legality, but he explains that possessions are often in both partner’s names. If the wife employs him, then he doesn’t have to seek permission from the husband.
“As far as I’m concerned the surveillance equipment is there for security purposes. It’s completely legal,” he says.
Cheating partners, benefits fraudsters and boardroom spies beware. The Essex Investigator may already be on your case.
For more information on the Essex Investigator go to http://www.essexinvestigator.co.uk