Landlord Busted After Tenant Paid Rent With $47K Worth of Stolen Whisky

The overdue rent was only $1,700.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Mar 11 2017, 9:00pm

When most of us are overdue on our rent, we either use every possible emoji to explain why or leave a bottle of better-than-average wine at our landlord's door (along with all of those emojis). When one of Kenneth McLean's tenants fell behind on his own rent payment, the man gave him almost five dozen bottles of rare, expensive whiskies, which would've been more than acceptable if all of those spirits hadn't been stolen from a Scottish warehouse.

Last July, a Diageo warehouse in Grangemouth, Scotland, was burgled, and a significant number of high-dollar bottles were stolen. (Diageo is the world's largest producer of alcoholic spirits; it owns Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and a lot of other immediately recognizable logos). Police officers were given a tip that McLean might've had a few of the missing whiskies and, when he was initially questioned, he said that he'd bought them all for himself. That lie fell apart when officers discovered that he'd accepted the bottles in exchange for £1,400 ($1,702) in overdue rent, and admitted that he was "willfully blind" to the idea that they could've been stolen.

According to the Falkirk Herald, officers discovered £39,272 ($47,747) worth of whisky stashed in his attic. The highlights of the stolen 57-bottle stash included nine bottles of 37-year-old Port Ellen worth £2,500 ($3,039) each, seven bottles of 38-year-old Brora worth £1,750 ($2,127) each, and a bottle of Coal Ila 30-year-old single malt, worth almost £500 ($607).

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(The Whisky Exchange describes that Port Ellen as tasting of "sugared almonds, chamois leather, sherbet lemons, oily smoke, a hint of empty fish tins, brine, floral heather honey, and bung cloth." How could you possibly put a price on all of that?)  

"It's very expensive whisky," Sheriff Derek Livingston said in court, according to the Herald, before asking if McLean was a whisky drinker. ("He is," attorney Martin Morrow said).

McLean pleaded guilty to possession of stolen goods and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service. "He acknowledges he has been extremely foolish," Morrow said.