A groom and his mates who were due to go to Las Vegas on a dream stag do have had a very different type of weekend…in Cardiff.
Ben Whincup, 28, had spent a year planning the US-trip with dad Craig, four friends and his two brothers-in-law.
But, a day before they were due to fly they found out nothing was booked, The Mirror reported.
Ben alleges that the best man – entrusted with almost £8,000 – told him he had spent all the money and booked nothing.
Ben, 28, said: “I could not believe what I was hearing. I never even got angry really, it was just shock and disbelief.
“You can’t believe someone would do something like that. So we’ve gone from thinking we’d be at a pool party in Vegas to sat having a beer in Swindon.”
Ben, who ties the knot with fiancee Emma in Royal Wootton Bassett on April 24, is a rugby coach at Gloucester University who also works as a service engineer, said: “As soon as we had set a date, I told Emma I wanted to go to Vegas for the stag party.
“I’d always dreamed of playing the tables in those iconic casinos and what better time than just before I get married?
“We had decided on the flights and the hotel on the strip where we would stay, and he just said he’d take care of it all.
“We handed over more than £700 each and trusted him to deliver the dream trip. In the weeks running up to the stag, we were all getting excited and there were no signs that anything was wrong.”
Telling of his shock when he got the confession call, Ben said: “I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what he’d done. It wasn’t just my money, there were others who were going to miss out on a trip of a lifetime.”
To make matters worse, one of the stag members was already in Las Vegas after travelling to Nevada from his home in New Zealand.
But, after telling his story to the Daily Mirror, a travel company got involved and arranged an alternative stag do for them.
Travel firm Groupia contacted the Mirror and offered to set up a last-minute UK bash – and Ben chose Cardiff.
Ben said he was “so happy” after the group enjoyed a day paintballing followed by a night on the tiles.
“I’m so happy we got to do this because it’s been a terrible few weeks dealing with what happened.
“We were all so disappointed about it and did not know what to do, so we are so grateful we could come over here and have fun together before the big day.
“I like Cardiff, I’ve been there before on a night out and enjoyed it, so it seemed like a good choice.”
Ben, from Swindon, Wiltshire, said he now cannot wait to tie the knot with fiancee Emma in nearby Royal Wootton Bassett on Wednesday, before enjoying a honeymoon in Greece.
He said: “I’m just looking forward to the most important thing here, which is my marriage to Emma.
“I can’t wait for the big day and then our honeymoon, and trying to move on from what happened”
Emma’s hen party, a weekend of drinks and games in a Somerset mansion, went off without any hitches.
Wiltshire police confirmed they were investigating the alleged theft of the Las Vegas fund and that a Swindon man had been arrested and bailed on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
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