Bacon, butlers and Spanish nudists – Foreign Office reveals latest top ten bizarre requests from Brits abroad
Confused callers looked to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for advice on bizarre issues ranging from where to buy English bacon in Europe, how to recruit a butler in Lebanon and how to avoid nudists in southern Spain, it has been revealed.
The FCO has released details of the ten weirdest consular calls it has received in the past year, as a reminder to the public that they should only look to use its services for genuine emergencies.
The calls included:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister James Duddridge said:
“Our consular staff are a helpful bunch and do an amazing job helping out Brits in trouble around the world – but it is important that people remember they are there to help with genuine emergencies and not as an alternative to directory enquiries.
“Every minute they spend handling a call requesting advice on butlers or nudists is time taken away from dealing with life and death cases, so I urge the public to think before picking up the phone.”
Latest FCO figures show that over the last year almost half a million calls were made to its consular service –which provides emergency help to Britons in trouble overseas.
The vast majority were from people with genuine requests and the FCO assisted with numerous cases, helping 3,250 Brits who were hospitalised, 4,770 who were arrested, and the families of 3,670 who died overseas. Almost 38,000 replacement travel documents were issued.
FCO staff are able to support Brits abroad in many ways – including arranging to visit Brits in hospital or in prison, advising on how to transfer money and helping those caught up in crisis situations. However, recent research* revealed that almost three quarters of Brits (74%) thought the FCO could get them out of jail if they were arrested, almost a quarter (22%) thought the FCO could arrange for them to get home if they lost their ticket and 15% presumed the FCO would lend them money if theirs was lost or stolen.
Head of the FCO’s Global Contact Centres, Kelvin Green said:
“We receive thousands of calls a year, and do all we can to help people who find themselves in difficulty abroad. But we cannot help people make travel arrangements or lifestyle plans, lend them money or pay medical and other bills for them.
“I would urge people to prepare well before they travel, making sure they have valid travel documents and insurance.”