Private Investigator

Name

Timothy Burchell

Age

39

Where

Kent

How much do you get paid?

Around £80k a year.

How do you get into it?

I started off working for a guy 12 years ago for free, then started on my own a year or so later. The main qualification is common sense, but there is an NVQ you can do and the trade will probably be licensed within the next two years.

What are the hours like?

Long. My longest day so far was a 2am start, working all the way round to 1am the next day.

Describe your average working day

There isn’t one. But with surveillance I’d study photos of the individual, do a survey of the area and then begin the observation. It’s pretty easy to stay unseen – I’ve never been rumbled. About 97% of cases end in bad news for the client.

What are your co-workers like?

Similar to me: confident, observant, prepared to work hard.

What’s the best perk?

Travel. I’ve travelled all over the world doing this. I’ve had a client from America who wanted me to follow her husband in Tokyo. I’ve been all over Europe countless times.

What causes you the most hassle?

Other people – you’re following somebody down the road and somebody pulls out in front of you – or you’re sat in a residential street and a curtain-twitcher will inform the cops.

What was your worst experience?

I was in France for about a month watching this guy from his back garden – and the spot I was in was covered in ants’ nests. It was baking hot… I was getting bitten… not nice.

What was your dream job?

My teachers always told me I could do better, but I think I’m doing better than they were. I’m doing my dream job.

Crime Scene Investigator

Name

Nick Line

Age

29

Where

London

How much do you get paid?

The company charges about £1,000 for a typical clean-up job

How do you get into it?

The business was set up by a guy who used to go out with my sister. I joined him and crime scene cleaning was always one of the key areas we wanted to get into. There aren’t many people doing it.

What are the hours like?

About 15 hours a day. If we only did crime scenes, we’d just be on stand-by a lot of the time. But we do sewage clean-ups, needle clear-ups and more general cleaning stuff, too.

Describe your average working day

It starts at 7.30am. If it’s a crime scene, we’ll come in wearing protective boot coverings, white suits, rubber gloves and masks. Even where someone’s been dead for weeks, we should be done in about six hours.

What are your co-workers like?

Very strong-minded, with a good sense of humour.

What’s the best perk?

Team camaraderie. And you get good job satisfaction – people are always really grateful because they don’t want to do the job themselves.

What causes you the most hassle?

Mattresses. If a body’s been decomposing for a long time, there are always maggots in the mattress. You can’t just cut it up, you have to bag it up and duct tape it. It’s a nightmare.

What was your worst experience?

A woman had a haemorrhage and died in her bathroom. The bath was a quarter-full of blood – you could see her handprints where she’d tried to get up and then collapsed.

What was your dream job?

Never had one. The careers officer recommended I should be a chartered surveyor.