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Student buys Whisky Galore bottle

3 December 08 13:33 GMT

A bottle of whisky recovered by a Sussex diver from a cargo ship whose sinking inspired a film has fetched £2,200 at auction.

Bob Pert retrieved the undamaged bottle in a search of the SS Politician, which sank in the Outer Hebrides in 1941 while carrying about 240,000 bottles.

Islanders celebrated with the looted alcohol, hiding the whisky before government officials could find it.

Buyer Tam Burt, said: "I like to drink whisky but this will stay untouched."

The 1949 comedy film Whisky Galore! was inspired by their raids on the wreck.

Speaking from Paris, Mr Burt, an 18-year-old gap student from Dollar, Clackmannanshire, said: "I read the book [Whisky Galore! by Compton Mackenzie] as a child and I really enjoyed it.

"Later I won a scholarship and on that I investigated the original story by travelling to Eriskay and the AM Politician pub named after the vessel."

Mr Burt added: "When I saw the bottle was up for auction I decided to go for it. In my opinion the bottle was grossly undervalued."

The Daily Mirror commissioned a team of divers including Mr Pert to find the SS Politician in 1970, and the team brought back six undamaged Ballantine Scotch whisky bottles.

Mr Pert, 61, of Seaford, was allowed by the Receiver of Wreck to hold on to the only uncontaminated bottle, which has remained unopened ever since.

Prefers red wine

He said: "We spent three weeks searching for the wreck in the Eriskay Bay and were just about to give up when we were given a tip by a local as to its whereabouts.

"We were literally on the last roll of the dice when we saw this case just sitting there."

Following the sale at Gorringes Auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex, Mr Pert, who prefers red wine, said: "I'm very pleased with what it went for.

"When I brought it along I didn't think many people would pay much for what is at the end of the day just a bottle of whisky.

"But people appear to like the story behind it and I'm delighted. I'm sure my family will be wanting a cut of the proceeds now."

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