As mentioned at the start of Warning, companies like Highland Titles are selling the public the opportunity to become a Laird of the Scottish Highlands.
Similar Scottish Lairdships are also available from Lochaber Highland Estates, Dunans Castle and various shopping and auction sites, for instance eBay (of course, see below!), Need a Present and LastMinute.com.
All you have to do is to buy a square foot of land in Scotland, and you will be considered a Laird; what a ridiculous concept, by that token most of the population of Scotland are Lairds.
The term is generally used in the same sense as in England for a Squire or Landowner, in that normally they have a substantial holding of land of pre-eminence in their local area. To refer to it as a title, as they do, therefore is totally incorrect.
As they describe it, their unique offer gives you legal title to one square foot of land at Glencoe (even though that is ten miles away), John O’Groats or Glencairn, and that each plot of land gives the owner the legal right to bear the title “Laird”.
They state that currently there are the following titles available “Laird of Glencoe” and “Laird of John O’Groats and Laird of Glencairn”. They are therefore selling these many times over, making the so-called ‘Title’ of Laird rather less than exclusive, as there will be masses of multiple holders.
However, it certainly could be described as a money making machine, giving them a profit of about 3,000,000% on the cost of the land – quite a nice little earner.
Peter Bevis, the man behind Highland Titles, has responded to my explanation of why Highland Titles is a scam, by maliciously attacking my two restaurants on the Internet on online review sites, even going so far as to create a fake Daily Telegraph website review of Porters English Restaurant claiming that it had been closed by the Environmental Health Officer because so many people had contracted food poisoning, this actually showed up on the front page of Google. Sadly the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute, but then Peter Bevis’s wife used to work for them!
The Telegraph on December 11th 2004, in an article which totally debunked the validity of these Lairdships, stated: “Experts on titles say that salesmen who buy small plots of land to divide them up are operating little more than a scam. The Court of the Lord Lyon, which deals with heraldic matters and coats of arms in Scotland, said that the Glencairn title – like the many others on offer – was ‘meaningless’.”
Not content with operating a scam, Dr Peter Bevis of Highland Titles, owned in the Channel Islands, a tax haven, rather than in Scotland, takes every opportunity to attack anyone that disagrees with what he is doing, however, finally a collection of eminent Scottish solicitors have exposed their lack of credibility.
It is worth looking at a more recent account of his many dubious practices.
It is disappointing to find that eBay have fallen for this confidence trick, as they are constantly auctioning the so-called Scottish Lairdships on their site, and are unwilling to do anything about it even when tackled directly; their response is frankly quite pathetic, and makes you wonder about other items that they are selling:
“We can certainly understand your concern regarding the authenticity of the item in question. I will be happy to assist you in anyway that I can.
Unfortunately, eBay doesn’t actually handle the merchandise that is offered for auction. Without first hand knowledge of the item, we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of the listing information. We encourage members who are interested in bidding on an item to email the seller for additional information. Be sure to ask the seller specific questions regarding age, authenticity and condition of the item before bidding. In the unlikelihood that the seller doesn’t respond, you may want to reconsider your bidding decision.
Part of this information is contained in our User Agreement, under article 3. I have included a portion of that Article below for your review:
‘eBay is Only a Venue. Our site acts as the venue for sellers to conduct auctions and for bidders to bid on sellers’ auctions. We are not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers. As a result, we have no control over the quality, safety or legality of the items advertised, the truth or accuracy of the listings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to buy items’.”
Loosely interpreted, I take that to mean that, as long they get their commission, they don’t give a damn about the authenticity of what is sold on the eBay site.