Homeless couple forced to live in Ford Focus after payday loan debts got out of hand
The distraught couple now live in an industrial estate and even spent their 9th wedding anniversary sharing a Twix chocolate bar in the car
A couple were forced to live in their Ford Focus after payday loans got out of hand and they were kicked out of their homes.
Philip and Victoria Sherlock borrowed £ 830 from lenders to cover their rent after he fell ill and had to give up his physically demanding job.
But sky-high interest rates saw their debts skyrocket and they couldn’t pay their rent, so they were evicted last month.
The distraught couple now live in their Ford Focus which they park in an industrial estate – and even spent their 9th wedding anniversary sharing a Twix in the car.
They claim to have sought help from the council, but were told they were not considered sufficiently at risk for emergency accommodation.
Former landscaper Philip, 42, said: “I want to support my wife and I can’t believe it’s come to this.
“Four months ago I had money and a nice house, now we live in a car, sleeping in a cold and dangerous area.
“It’s a nightmare and an absolute joke – we are embarrassed to tell everyone the truth.
“We were hoping it was going to be temporary but we’ve been living like this for a month.
“As an adult couple who want to work, it’s humiliating how much we’ve fallen.”
The couple’s bad luck began when Philip – who had worked for 24 years – had to have surgery on his stomach which was twisted around his esophagus in October.
He had to give up his £ 400 a week job and started claiming £ 84 a week for benefits as he got better and found a less physically demanding role.
The couple from Pontiau, near Wrexham in Wales, tried to survive on £ 78 a week from Victoria’s sales assistant but fell behind on bills and rent in December.
In desperation, they sold two double beds, a fridge, washing machine and TV on eBay for £ 600, then borrowed £ 830 in payday loans in January.
Victoria has managed to increase her hours as a saleswoman to 16 per week, but that means their benefits have dropped from £ 86 to just £ 62 per week.
Within months they were £ 2,000 in debt and by February were deported.
Victoria said: “We needed the quick and easy money so we didn’t think twice. But it all got out of hand and we ended up with bailiffs on our doorstep.”
They drove 30 miles to Warrington to get closer to Victoria’s job, but Warrington Borough Council said they didn’t need emergency accommodation.
Philip said: “It’s disgusting. I’ve paid my taxes my whole life and this is how they pay me back when I need them?
“We only took out the loans because we were desperate and now we’re snowed in debt and living in a car.
“But for some reason it’s not considered dangerous enough for anyone to care.”
Victoria and Philip, have a 12-year-old son living with a former partner, now survive on around £ 140 a week.
On average, they buy two pastries for £ 1 and a baguette for £ 1 which they share, and spend their morning in a nearby Wetherspoons pub where they can drink unlimited coffee for £ 2.50.
Three times a week, the couple pay £ 3 to walk into their local recreation center and use the shower, and Philip drives Victoria to work before spending the rest of the day applying for a job.
At night, they park in a local industrial area and recline the seats of Philip’s Ford Fiesta to sleep, but live in fear of being ambushed and Victoria takes antidepressants.
He said: “It’s freezing sleeping here. It stays noisy until about 3 am and I watch over my wife, feeling like a failure.
“We celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary a few days after moving all of our stuff in the trunk of our car.
“We sat there, shared a Twix chocolate bar and thought we were going to change that.
“But the days have turned into weeks. It’s humbling.
“We should never have taken payday loans, but we ran out of options.”
Warrington’s council said it could not discuss individual cases, but a spokesperson added: “If people move to Warrington without first getting housing and after an assessment is not considered a need priority, we offer a wide range of support and advice.
“This includes information on private landlords and rental housing, loans and bonds, advice and assistance on how to access our services and social housing.
“It refers to a rental workshop so I hope they can find accommodation as soon as possible.”
A day in the life of the Sherlocks
Wake up in a car in an industrial area and brush your teeth
Drive to a shopping center and use the public restrooms
Breakfast time – share two pies from a budget bakery
Recharge mobile phones and share a free recharge coffee at Wetherspoons
Victoria goes to work while Phil goes to the Job Center to find work
Drive to Tesco parking lot and use the restroom
Dinner time – share a cold baguette or box of spaghetti in the car
Drive home to the industrial area and listen to the radio
Victoria falls asleep while Philip dozes
Phil wakes up and turns on the heater for 30 minutes to warm up