What can Sheriff Officers take?

What Sheriff Officers cannot take.

Rather than outlining what Sheriff Officers can take, it is probably easier to state what they cannot take.

The following is a list of what Scots Law considers to be essential assets. As such these assets cannot be attached by sheriff officers, using attachment orders or Exceptional Attachment Orders, providing a reasonable requirement for the items can be shown.

These items are also protected for the purposes of sequestration or protected trust deeds.

Can Sheriff Officers take cars and mobile homes?

Cars which have a value of less than £3,000 can be deemed to be an essential item and, therefore, protected from Sheriff Officers, provided a reasonable requirement for the car can be shown.

Sheriff officers also cannot take a mobile home that is the debtor’s only or principal residence.

What can Sheriff Officer take from within the home?

Sheriff officers can never take money from a debtor’s home (although they may take it from business premises). The exception to this rule is if the money is antique money, such as that kept by a coin collector, which is worth more than value shown on the money.

Other items Sheriff Officers cannot take are:

  • clothing reasonably required for the use of the debtor or any member of the debtor’s household;
  • implements, tools of trade, books or other equipment reasonably required for the use of any member of the debtor’s household in the practice of such member’s profession, trade or business, not exceeding in aggregate value £1,000;
  • medical aids or medical equipment reasonably required for the use of the debtor or any member of the debtor’s household;
  • books or other articles reasonably required for the education or training of the debtor or any member of the debtor’s household not exceeding in aggregate value £1,000;
  • articles reasonably required for the care or upbringing of a child who is a member of the debtor’s household;
  • toys for the use of any child who is a member of the debtor’s household;
  • beds or bedding;
  • household linen;
  • chairs or settees;
  • tables;
  • food;
  • lights or light fittings;
  • heating appliances;
  • curtains;
  • floor coverings;
  • furniture, equipment or utensils used for storing, cooking or eating food;
  • refrigerators;
  • articles used for cleaning, drying, mending, or pressing clothes;
  • articles used for cleaning the dwellinghouse;
  • furniture used for storing—
    • clothing, bedding or household linen;
    • articles used for cleaning the dwellinghouse; or
    • utensils used for cooking or eating food;
  • articles used for safety in the dwellinghouse;
  • tools used for maintenance or repair of the dwellinghouse or of household articles;
  • computers and accessory equipment;
  • microwave ovens;
  • radios;
  • telephones;
  • televisions.

What can Sheriff Officers take outside the home?

Sheriff Officers cannot take any tools or other equipment reasonably required for the purpose of keeping in good order and condition any garden or yard adjacent to, or associated with, a dwellinghouse in which the debtor resides.


  1. Jennifer


    I am being chased by stirling park for this years council tax.

    My partner is self employed and has been struggling for hours for the past few weeks due to Winter hours which will increase again after christmas break.

    We’ve now found out he is off work for 4 weeks over Christmas then back on the 6th January, with no pay until 17th I think.

    I emailed stirling park with this info and offering 50 a week from the 17th of January. Was not accepted and was told I need to pay 65 from this week.

    I called them and this was reduced to 50 but only from this week forward. We have only 450 a week going into his account and nothing going into mine. How can I sort this?

    Any advice on how I could get them to wait?

    Thank you

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Jennifer

      I am sorry to hear about your situation.

      I am assuming you are not working.

      In terms of Stirling Park, they could try and arrest your partner’s bank account if you don’t make any payments.

      This would mean any sums over the first £529.30 in his account could be arrested.

      If the sums in his account are below this amount, the arrestment would fail, however the bank could still apply a £25 charge.

      The cost of the bank arrestment would still be added to the debt that you owe.

      If he has sums over this amount, the full amount could be taken up to the amount owed.

      They can’t arrest his earnings as he has none, as he is self employed; but if they know who he is working for as a self-employed person, they could try and arrest any sums he is owed. The £529.30 minimum protection would not apply, so they could ask for the full amount he is owed to be paid over to them.

      If either of you own a car they can try and attach it, but if it is worth less than £3,000 and you have a reasonable requirement for it, it is protected. If it is subject to finance, like hire-purchase or a PCP agreement, it cannot be attached as you don’t own it.

      They also cannot come into your home without carrying out a more complex procedure called an Exceptional Attachment Order. Unless they have applied to the Court for this, there is no need to worry about it at present.

      So really whether you want to make a payment to them just now is up to you, but if you think any of these recovery actions could succeed and you could lose more than they are asking for, you may want to make the payment they are seeking and then seek advice.

      Alternatively, if you can’t make the payment, you may want to look at whether your husband should use a Statutory Moratorium, which can stop all Sheriff Officers action for six weeks.

      However, before you do this, I would seek advice, as you can only use a moratorium once every 12 months.

      I would suggest going to your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and they can give you bespoke advice and assistance.

  2. James


    I have had a lot of money issues over past few years and it has been a long time since I have paid any council tax.

    I always got into debt with a catalogue company and have two officers at my door every day money to friday between 9 and 6.

    If I keep ignoring door will they end up kicking it.

    I’m pretty much house bound, due to anxiety and this is making life unbearable.

    I’m not sure what I should do to try and resolve this my benefits were cut over a year ago, so ever day is a struggle.

    I am not even sure how I’d begin to pay the money back. I am so scared.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi James

      I am sorry you are in this situation and feel so intimidated.

      Firstly, there is no need to be.

      No-one is going to kick your door in, least of all a Sheriff Officer, who is an Officer of the Court and heavily regulated.

      I am not sure if it is Sheriff Officers or debt collectors and as my page on Sheriff Officers explains they are very different things (see here).

      I would seriously urge you to contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Council and ask if they have a money adviser/debt counsellor you can speak to.

      It is likely this can be resolved quite easily with their help and it also sounds like you need your benefits checked to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to.

      You can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau here, or contact your local Council here.

      Ignoring a problem never fixes it and you cannot continue to live in fear.

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