Britain’s richest gypsy opened up about the moment he was left asleep in his van for fear he would lose everything.
Alfie Best, 53, has spent decades building his empire and is on track to be crowned the world’s first gypsy billionaire.
But he has admitted his journey to the top hasn’t always been smooth.
The father of two had just started his first business when a recession wreaked havoc on his finances.
In a new film about his life, titled Gypsy Billionaire, which premieres this Friday, Alfie said: “I’ve never faced a recession – it took me from a millionaire to a virtual bankruptcy.”
It was the early 1990s and the young entrepreneur had recently opened his first business – a van hire center and dealership in London’s Forest Gate.
Alfie explained: “I was in a terrible situation called negative justice. I had never heard of those expressions and words.”
“It means your house is worth less than you owe the bank. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was my saving grace because it stopped the banks from repossessing my property.”
The 53-year-old said he took quick action to try to salvage his possessions – and has gone without a roof over his head for three months in the meantime.
Alfie explained: “I moved out of the house, sold the car, sold any inventory I had off the field, put a mattress in the back of the trailer, slept in the trailer and rented the house out.” left, split it up into small units, rented them out and paid my mortgages.”
He said the pressure even got him hospitalized after he fell to the ground at work.
“In my office at Forest Gate I have never forgotten it to this day, every time I talk about it my hair stands on end.
“But when I was 20, I was mumbling and I collapsed on my desk from the stress.
“Challenging times to say the least.”
In the film, which premieres in Cannes, Alfie’s daughter Elizabeth tells how she left school at 11 – and is now following in her father’s footsteps.
The 27-year-old is parks manager for Wlydecrest Parks – which is how Alfie started from scratch and made his millions.
His staggering net worth comes from the residential car park empire, which raked in £32million last year alone.
Earlier this year, Sun reporter Jemma got a glimpse of a normal day in Alfie’s high-flying life.
She saw him travel across the country in his personalized helicopter – designed by James Bond’s favorite car maker, Aston Martin.