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Shame of British holiday louts

The binge drinking habit of some Britons has led to a soaring number of arrests of them on foreign trips, according to figures released by the Foreign Office.

world Updated: Aug 13, 2008 01:14 IST
Vijay Dutt

The binge drinking habit of some Britons has led to a soaring number of arrests of them on foreign trips, according to figures released by the Foreign Office.

Figures of troubles by Britons in 2006-2007, covering 15 holiday destinations including India, showed there were 4603 arrests overseas.

The report bares the fact that the behaviour of drunken and loutish holidaymakers indulging in shameful activities has pushed Britain’s reputation of a country of “propah” gentlemen to abysmal depths.

The arrest in Spain — 2032, a surge by 42 per cent in one year — have been the highest followed by detentions in the US — 1415.

The publication of the report follows the rape and murder of 15-year-old British holidaymaker Scarlett Keeling in Goa in
February.

In India 46 arrests were made, out of which 45 were hospital cases and one was a reported case of rape.

Most of the tourists from Britain have particularly fallen foul of the authorities in Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the FO statistics showed.

Two Britons are currently facing jail terms in Dubai after they were allegedly caught having sex on a beach.

The report, British Behaviour Abroad, says, “Many arrests are due to behaviour caused by excessive drinking,” and warns that “...travel insurance may not cover you if you have an accident whilst under the influence of alcohol.”

It also asked women to cover up, wear “appropriate dress” and behave in line with local customs noting: “Alcohol is the most frequently used drug in drug-assisted rape.”

The highest number of reported rapes was in Spain, with 29, followed by Greece (28) and Turkey (21).On the Greek island of Crete, police warned British tourists that they face arrest if their drinking looks as if it could get them into trouble.

A few English people HT contacted, while saying the report was appalling, said that most who behave badly are the young, tattooed, beer belly types who besmirch the country’s reputation.

They zero in on cheap drinking joints and bawdy night clubs.

But tour operators said that the number of bad behaved Britons has not in fact gone up that much, instead the police in foreign countries have become more vigilant and adopted zero tolerance approach against drunken behaviour.

Foreign Office minister Meg Munn said: “This report highlights what can go wrong on holiday. It is a reminder to all that taking out comprehensive travel insurance is a crucial part of your holiday planning and not something that should
be sacrificed in order to save a few pounds.”

She said many of the problems are preventable.

“By carrying out some simple research on the laws, customs and health requirements of a country in advance, many people could prevent their holidays being ruined,” Munn said.

(With Agencies input)