BRITISH nationals are being warned about wasting embassy time with “ludicrous” inquiries about lost false teeth, runny jam and plastic surgery problems, the Foreign Secretary revealed today.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary urged expats and tourists not to stretch scarce consular resources by making “bizarre demands”.
Among the calls logged by overseas Foreign Office staff are requests for help erecting a chicken coop, advice on where to have Christmas lunch in Spain and a plea for assistance translating “I love you” into Hungarian.
Mr Hague said: “It is not our job, for example, to book you restaurants while you are on holiday.
“This is obvious, you may think. But nonetheless it came as a surprise to the caller in Spain who was having difficulty finding somewhere to have Christmas lunch.
“If, like a man in Florida last year, you find ants in your holiday rental, we are not the people to ask for pest control advice.
“If you are having difficulty erecting a new chicken coop in your garden in Greece as someone else was, I am afraid that we cannot help you.
“Equally, I have to say that we are not the people to turn to if you can’t find your false teeth, if your sat nav is broken and you need directions, if you are unhappy with your plastic surgery, if your jam won’t set, if you are looking for a dog-minder while you are on holiday, if your livestock need checking on, if you would like advice about the weather, or if you want someone to throw a coin into the Trevi fountain for you because you forgot while you were on holiday and you want your marriage to succeed.
“And our commitment to good relations with our neighbours does not, I am afraid, extend to translating ‘I love you’ into Hungarian, as we were asked to do by one love-struck British tourist. There are easier ways to find a translation.”
In the speech on strengthening Britain’s consular diplomacy, Mr Hague said Britons make more than 55 million individual trips overseas every year and around six million live abroad for some of or all of the time.
Around one in ten murders of Britons in the last two years took place overseas and around 6,000 nationals are arrested every year.
Mr Hague said the figures showed the “immense demand” for the service.
He added: “We ask British nationals to be responsible, to be self-reliant and to take sensible precautions.”