Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: UK Embassy in Spain reveals weirdest requests from Brits

The British Embassy is there to help if you have a medical emergency, lose your passport or get in a spot of bother with the police. But thousands of people rang in last year in the hope that consular staff could help them with more mundane matters. In the hope of dissuading future time wasters the Foreign Office have revealed some of the more bizarre requests for assistance made by travelling Brits. It is a question that many a holiday maker or newly arrived expat resident will be desperate to know. “One homesick expat called up to ask the best place to purchase some English bacon,” the FCO revealed. While another was worried that he might encounter “nudists walking through the streets” and called in to ask how best to avoid them in southern Spain. “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,” said James Duddridge, the FCO minister. “British residents in Spain made more than 13,000 telephone enquiries in the past year, of which a quarter could have been resolved if callers had first searched http://www.gov.uk,” said a statement from the British Embassy in Madrid. “The most frequent topics – for which there is plenty of information online – included applying for a British passport, getting UK documents legalised and registering a birth, death or marriage. In addition, nearly 2000 of the total calls were inappropriately seeking ‘lifestyle’ advice.”



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