A WEDDING planner has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after he stole £130,000 from dozens of couples – leaving some double booked and others in limbo just weeks before their big day.

Craig Williamson fled to Ibiza but told colleagues at Guthrie Castle in Angus that he was visiting his father in Glasgow.

In reality he was on the run, having spent up to £5,000 a day on his gambling addiction.

The castle’s owner, American businessman Dan Pena, has so far had to pay £130,000 from his own pocket to cover refunds and honour bookings taken by Williamson. Mr Pena has said the company now faces bankruptcy as a result.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard bride Alice Cannon found her £19,000 wedding was not on the books only a week before her big day.

Megan McNamee’s wedding was triple booked, forcing her to reschedule. Mr Pena met the cost for both brides.

Williamson, 42, a prisoner at HMP Perth, earlier pleaded guilty to fraud committed between July 16, 2015 and April 2017.

Sheriff Alastair Carmichael jailed Williamson for 30 months, reduced from 45 months for his early guilty plea.

He said he had perpetrated the fraud for two years. “It only came to light because you were in absentia from your work and your employers investigated,” he said.

“This was a despicable crime, taking money from people who paid you in good faith.

“Jobs have been lost, a successful business of 12 years standing has been closed down and couples were left in doubt over their weddings.”

HeraldScotland | Crime & Courts

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