Thieves steal rare £50,000 whiskey collection from lockup in West Sussex

May 26, 2020

Thieves have stolen a collection of more than 1,000 rare whiskeys worth at least £50,000 from a lockup in West Sussex.

Burglars broke into the storage facility near Chichester on the night of 16 May and stole more than 1,000 bottles of whiskey, rum, vodka and other spirits, Sussex Police said.

The owner had spent 10 years and more than £50,000 building up his collection, which contained liquors from Japan, India, Taiwan and beyond.

The victim, 35, told Sky News: "My initial reaction was shock. But then there was this overwhelming sense of panic and loss, I felt sick to my stomach."

Several of the bottles have huge sentimental value, including a 1973 Bowmore Single Malt given to the collector by his father on a trip to a distillery for his 12th birthday.

He said: "My father and I visited the Scottish isles when I was younger and we went to lots of distilleries.

"When I was old enough to drink I started to get into it more, but in the past 10 years I've really started to develop my palette and understand the industry.

"It was my investment - my retirement fund. It's ruined it for me, because if I don't get them back I'm not going to start again."

The most expensive bottle in the collection would be worth more than £1,000 at auction and many others are irreplaceable as they are no longer in production, he added.

The break-in, which happened on World Whiskey Day, also caused £3,000 of damage.

A family member had checked on the collection earlier that day, but it was not until the owner went back for himself the following afternoon that he realised what had happened.

There is a £5,000 reward being offered for any information that leads to an arrest or recovery of the stolen bottles.

The victim is also compiling a list of items that were taken in case they appear illegally at auction.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 47200080936

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