One of the best things about being a private investigator is the sheer variety of work. The varied types of investigation carried out by private detectives means that no two days at work are the same and seldom does an hour go by without at least a little excitement.
The following examples are all based on real cases, but we’ve changed some details to protect client confidentiality.
I sit at my computer to check through today’s emails. As usual there’s a wonderful array of people needing our help for a variety of reasons. One of the most popular enquiries is from people who suspect their partner may be cheating. Not everyone feels comfortable speaking to a private detective. Many inquiries come from people who haven’t left a phone number, so I send emails asking if we can talk in more detail on the phone.
Among the emails is an instruction from a solicitor our firm works with regularly. They need to serve process on a group of travellers who have taken residence on disused land on the outskirts of Manchester. Within the hour, I’ve travelled to the solicitors’ head office to collect the papers in person and am now on my way, with some trepidation, to serve the travellers with an eviction notice.
There’s already a police presence at the site. An officer warns me that the travellers have spread nails and glass around the entrance of the site to puncture the tyres of police cars and unwitting investigators. To my relief, the group accepts the papers without ado and don’t protest as I pin the notices in prominent places around the site as instructed by the solicitor.
Back at the office I phone some of the potential clients I received emails from last night. The cases range from a man who sent money to someone he met on the internet and now believes he may have been defrauded, to an engineering company who suspect their offices have been bugged by competitors.
In the midst of phoning around I receive a call from a man who thinks his partner of 12 years is having an affair and would like me to start a surveillance operation when his partner leaves work this afternoon. It isn’t long to begin planning an operation!
I leave the office, armed with a digital camera and jump in The Mystery Machine – that’s the nickname we give to our specialist surveillance vehicle, equipped with a wealth of photography, video and sound recording equipment for jobs just like this. On the way to the Mystery Machine I notice that my front drivers’ side tyre of my own car is punctured. Looks like the travellers got the better of me with a well-placed nail.
I’ve been sat outside a dentist where our suspected cheating partner works as a receptionist for around 20 minutes. At 3.30pm – right on time – I spot the target leave the building and get into a car, which I follow a couple of miles into town to a hairdressers and beauty salon. I did say that being a private investigator can be exciting work but sadly that’s not always the case! I wait for what seems like hours while the target has a haircut and manicure, before following her again to an address on the other side of town. A quick call to my client confirms that this is her mother’s house. Happy that his partner doesn’t seem to be up to anything suspicious, he asks me to call off the surveillance for now.
Whilst out on the surveillance operation, I’d made arrangements for a mobile mechanic to change my tyre. On returning to the office, he breaks the news that two tyres were in fact punctured. Fortunately there’s better news waiting inside the office. The MD of the engineering company has been in contact to confirm he would like to go ahead with the bug sweep. I suggest meeting in person at a neutral location do discuss things further.
There’s just time to play at process server again – this time to the respondent in a divorce case. The man at the address given by the solicitors claims he is not the man in question. It’s a common trick often used to try and throw us off the scent. Luckily the solicitors have provided me with the mobile phone number of the respondent. I call the number and the phone rings in the pocket of the man stood in front of me. Gotcha! First the man pretends to be his own brother before finally admitting his identity and accepting the papers. He even shakes my hand as I leave!