British tourist held at gunpoint and banned from leaving Egypt

British tourist held at gunpoint and banned from leaving EgyptStock photo, Hurghada: Getty


A British tourist was held at gunpoint and banned from leaving Egypt after being mistaken for an international antiques smuggler of the same name.

Andrew May, 30, and his girlfriend, Julia Rowe, 28, suffered a 12-day ordeal after they were seized while they were waiting to catch a flight home from Hurghada following a Thomson package holiday.

Andrew, from Corby, Northants, told the Northants Telegraph: "I was the third Andrew May to be prevented from leaving Egypt.

"At the airport it was a nightmare. There were people shouting and we couldn't understand what was going on. I kept telling myself that this was clearly a mistake and someone would sort it out soon.

"While we were being held another Andrew May and his wife, from Cornwall, were brought to us to explain the situation.

They had been kept in Egypt for two weeks and were in a terrble state. They were able to give me numbers for a lawyer and a contact at the British Embassy. They were going home but our ordeal was just beginning."

He said he was asked to sign papers stating that he had agreed to stay in Egypt, explaining: "I was told it was either that or I would be taken to a prison in Cairo."

Mr May had to pay a lawyer £1,000 cash while the mix-up was resolved and additional hotel and travel bills cost him an extra £3,000.

He added: "It was terrible waiting each day to see if we could fly home. When we were eventually told we could return to Britain, Thomson charged my girlfriend and I £8 each for seats on a coach to Luxor where we caught a plane home. I'll be writing letters to complain. It was a terrifying situation to be in. What if the same thing had happened to an elderly couple.

"Each day we waited and waited for clearance to go home, worrying and spending money we couldn't afford. Our families back home were worried too."

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