Tayside and Central Scotland

Landlord accepted £40,000 stolen whisky as rent payment

Falkirk Sheriff Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Falkirk Sheriff Court was told the whisky was found in Kenneth McLean's attic

A landlord accepted almost £40,000 of rare stolen whisky from a tenant in lieu of £1,400 unpaid rent, a court was told.

Kenneth McLean, 48, was caught with 57 bottles of rare malt hidden in his loft by police acting on a tip off.

They were investigating complaints that valuable whiskies had gone missing from a storage vault in Grangemouth used by drinks giant Diageo.

McLean was given a community sentence for possessing stolen goods.

He admitted the criminal offence of reset and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

The court was told that the whiskies had gone missing from the bonded warehouse last July.

Officers were subsequently told that McLean had a large quantity of spirits in the attic of his home in Avonbridge, near Falkirk.

'Wilfully blind'

Nine bottles of 37-year-old Port Ellen, worth almost £2,500 each and seven bottles of Brora 1977 worth a total of £12,250 were among the whiskies recovered.

None of the bottles, which had a total value of £39,272, had been duty-paid and could not have been legally sold in the UK

McLean was arrested and in an initial police interview he claimed he had bought the whisky for cash, paying up to £2,500 for some of the bottles.

He told officers he intended to keep the whiskies for five or 10 years, then sell them at a profit.

However, it emerged that McLean told social workers compiling a report that he had accepted them as rent, and had been "wilfully blind" to the probability they were stolen.

Solicitor advocate Martin Morrow, defending McLean, said: "He acknowledges he has been extremely foolish."

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