In a bid to remind British tourists how it can really help with dilemmas abroad, the Foreign Office has revealed some of the most bizarre requests that it simply cannot assist holidaymakers with.
Silencing a noisy cockerel, supplying Olympic tickets and providing contact details for Sir Paul McCartney's wife were among the most unusual requests the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) received last year.
FCO staff said that one man demanded they help him get compensation after a monkey dislodged a stone that hit him and put him in hospital in Cambodia.
In Rome, FCO staff were asked by a man to translate a phrase for a tattoo that he wanted and the Consulate in Montreal were asked for information to settle a £1,000 wager on the colour of the British passport.
Other bizarre requests included:
- Consular staff in Beijing were asked to help a woman who had bought a pair of football boots that were 'Made in China' but were poor quality
- A woman requested that consular staff in Tel Aviv order her husband to get fit and eat healthily so that they could have children
- Consular staff in Kuala Lumpur were asked if the FCO could help pay to send their children to an International School
- A number of staff across the world have been asked for the best place to watch the football
- A number of British Consulates have been asked to book hotels or to advise on where to watch the football
Mark Simmonds, Minister for Consular Affairs, said: "We are not in a position to help people make travel arrangements or social plans, but we do help those who face real problems abroad.
"These can include victims of crime, bereaved families who have lost a loved one abroad or Britons who have been arrested or detained. We aim to continue to focus on supporting those who really need our help in the coming year."
Head of the Contact Centre, Steve Jones, said: "Our aim is to help staff at posts concentrate on what is important but some of the enquiries we received from British nationals last year were bizarre to say the least – for example, one customer contacted us to ask if we could provide the name of the watch that the Royal Navy sailors wore between the years 1942-1955."
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