Glenrothes'  Cadco scandal that left Hollywood director millions out of pocket

Not many scandals in Fife come complete with a Hollywood link, but, 60 years ago, Glenrothes found itself at a centre of a bizarre story involving a piggery, a renowned director, and “a treacherous, lecherous character of the worst possible type.”
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The story of the Cadco scandal is very much part of the town’s history - one worth retelling as Glenrothes celebrates its landmark 75th anniversary.

In 1963, it was still a New Town - one of five created in Scotland - and still growing to embrace a diverse range of new businesses and industries. In May of that year, Cadco Development Limited announced that it was to bring 2000 jobs to the town.

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The company boasted film star George Sanders as a director, with his wife Benita Hume as a board member, and they planned to build three factories on the Queensway Industrial open a pig breeding unit at Whitehill and a supermarket in the town centre.

Cadco in Glenrothes (Pic: GDC)Cadco in Glenrothes (Pic: GDC)
Cadco in Glenrothes (Pic: GDC)

That was May 1963. By October 1964 all work had stopped because Cadco Building Company had not paid its sub-contractors or suppliers.

Sanders was duped out of millions of £s in a bizarre scam which made national headlines, and left investors - including many rumoured prominent people as well as Glenrothes Development Corporation - heavily out of pocket.

Local MP, the late Willie Hamilton, branded the man at the heart of it, Denis Lorraine “a treacherous, lecherous character of the worst possible type” and slated the official Board of Trade inspectors’ report as ““a most squalid and fascinating piece of reading, certainly that I have read for a very long time” before going on to brand it as “a concoction of dishonesty, deceit, crime, gullibility and incompetence the like of which has probably never been known in Scotland before.”

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Factories designed to accommodate 20,000 pigs and create up to 2000 jobs never happened as the money was sunk into a failing sausage factory in Brighton instead.

The late Alex Shand, the original reporter on the then newly launched Glenrothes Gazette, was the first to break the story which led to OBEs being stripped and questions asked in Parliament.