An Elvis-impersonating hotelier and his wife have fled their South Yorkshire hotel, leaving several couples who had booked weddings at the venue out of pocket.
David Elliott and his wife, Dyan, ran the Sandygate hotel in Wath-upon-Dearne, near Rotherham, which had featured on an episode of Channel 5 show The Hotel Inspector.
But staff arrived at the work last week to find the couple gone and the hotel, owned by nationwide brewery chain Trust Inns, completely gutted of fixtures and fittings, reported the Yorkshire Post.
Steve Payne, an events DJ at the hotel, was told about the late-night flight in a phonecall from one of the chefs who lives near the property.
He said: "I got a call at about three in the morning from the chef, telling me that he was at the hotel and Dyan and David were leaving. They had two vans and a load of people helping them, and they were clearing the place.
"I was totally shocked, and also concerned about my DJ equipment so I called the police, who said they would send someone over."
According to Payne, staff were shocked and added the place was "gutted".
"The fridge, freezer, cooker, ovens, bottles of wine and spirits, barrels, everything was gone. The bookings book with receipts and details of deposits paid was also gone.
"They were leasing the property - I think they had around three years left on it, and were trying to sell the lease on.
"A note left for the staff said something along the lines of 'Sorry we've had to do this to all of you'."
Following the incident, Trust Inns sent a security team to check the property. The company has since confirmed that it has now reopened under new landlord Glyn Atmore, who has attempted to compensate disappointed couples by offering them discounted rates to re-book their functions at the venue.
Around 50 couples planning to hold their wedding reception at the Sandygate are understood to be affected by the couple's disappearance. Atmore has said he will match any price they have been offered elsewhere for their events and will charge them only minimal deposits.
A spokesman said: "The Elliotts have disappeared and we have no idea where they are. Everything inside the hotel was their responsibility as it was run as their business."
South Yorkshire Police has launched an investigation into complaints made by people who had booked the venue.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters