Aircraft engineer John Britten, who had been instrumental in founding Britten-Norman, left that company in February 1976.. After that, he began development of an economical four-place light twin aircraft, the Sheriff. It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane with twin tails and a tractor engine in a nacelle on each wing. Of all-metal construction (with a fiberglass nose section on the fuselage), it was fitted with fixed tricycle undercarriage and accommodated the pilot and three passengers under a bubble canopy.
Britten planned two versions of the aircraft, a two-place trainer and a four-place touring aircraft. Target price of the trainer was ₤25,000 and of the touring version was ₤29,000. By comparison, at that time the price of the Piper Seneca was around £58,000, so Britten's plan was daring.
Britten died in 1977, and work on the prototype aircraft, partly completed, came to a halt. The prototype (registered G-FRJB) was never completed and as of 2007 is preserved and under restoration at Nottingham East Midlands Airport.
After Britten's death, the unfinished aircraft was kindly donated by the A.R.A.Aviation, Sandown Airport, Isle of Wight. The aircraft was transported free of charge by Sealink Ferries, and for the nominal charge by B.F.I Transport, castle Donington, arriving on site 2nd July 1986. The aircraft is now under restoration at East Midlands Aeropark.