The Foreign and Commonwealth Office released a collection of the strangest and most inappropriate enquiries it has logged over the past year.
A British holidaymaker once contacted his host country’s British Consulate to try and obtain Phil Collins’ phone number, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) revealed today.
Releasing a collection of some of the strangest requests and inquiries it has received from hapless Brits taking cheap holidays abroad, the FCO said that it wished to gently remind UK travellers that the nation’s embassies, consulates and high commissions were only there to assist Britons in the event of serious problems or emergencies – not as an all-points information service.
Quite why somebody would think a person-to-person call with Phil Collins would be the very thing to do while on holiday was not explained – perhaps even the enquirer themselves did not know – but the list also revealed a UK holidaymaker who contacted the British Consulate in Spain asking for Prince Charles’ shoe size in order to send the lucky royal a a pair of shoes as a present, while a British citizen resident in Greece contacted the consulate to find out how to install a chicken coop in his back garden.
The FCO also received requests from Britons anxious to evict ants from their holiday villa in Florida and queries concerning the best places to go fishing – and to buy fishing bait – in Greece.
Minister for Consular Affairs Jeremy Browne, stressed the important of being aware of the sort of help that the Foreign Office can actually provide for British citizens overseas.
“Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service,” Mr Browne pointed out – explaining that the legitimate services provided by the agency ranged around helping British citizens who have lost loved ones overseas, assisting victims of serious crimes and giving support for citizens who have been arrested and detained by the local authorities.