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Landlord accepted stolen whisky worth thousands as rent payment

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Tom Simcock
Written by Tom Simcock

A landlord was caught with nearly £40,000 worth of rare bottles of Whiskey that was accepted in lieu of £1,400 of rent. The Police caught Kenneth McLean, with 57 hidden bottles of rare malt whiskey in his loft.

The Police were investigating complaints that valuable whisky had disappeared from a storage vault in Grangemouth used by drinks giant Diageo.

The landlord was given a community sentence after admitting reset, and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

From the bottles of whiskies that were recovered, 9 bottles were 37-year-old Port Ellen (worth £2,500 each) and 7 bottles were Brora 1977 (worth £12,250 each).

McLean told social workers 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.”

RLA advice to landlords is if tenants are struggling to make rent payments to carefully consider options to help, however, common sense needs to prevail and accepting alternatives to rent can make the situation difficult for landlords. The RLA does not recommend landlords accept alternatives to rent.

Landlords should always ensure tenants are fully referenced and if the referencing suggests that tenants may struggle to make rent payments it is a good idea to have guarantors.

For more information and advice:

About the author

Tom Simcock

Tom Simcock

Tom is the Senior Researcher for the RLA. He works hard to understand the issues affecting the PRS and to use our research findings to inform policy decisions.

His expertise lies in researching change in society, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and behavioural and psychological change approaches. His research on the private rented sector and housing has received national media coverage and has been cited by the House of Commons, House of Lords and the London Mayor. For the past 4 years, he has been researching the changing roles of Fire and Rescue Service Employees as part of his PhD research. Tom holds an M.Sc. degree from the University of Manchester, and a B.Sc. degree from the University of Chester.

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