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Crazy requests for consular staff

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Crazy requests have plagued British consular staff in other countries, with someone asking for rock superstar Phil Collins's telephone number.

In a light-hearted way, the questions over trivial matters like reporting ants in a holiday villa remind holidaymakers to ensure they have valid travel insurance - but it's not always funny for the staff concerned, who have more pressing matters to deal with.

Someone else wanted to check on the Prince of Wales's shoe size and another request was made to staff in Spain from a man who wanted them to contact a dominatrix who had abandoned him at the airport.

In Sydney, a man rang the consulate asking what clothes to pack for a holiday and a Brit in Bulgaria wanted the consulate in Sofia to sell his house. Embassy staff in Moscow were asked by a woman to drop by her flat to sort out a loud buzzing, and a consulate in Greece was asked out to put a chicken coop up.

A man in Florida reported ants in his holiday villa and another caller wanted consular staff in Dubai to help his pet dog through airport customs.

Staff had to focus on helping serious crime victims, said Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne. There are people needing support who had been detained or lost a loved one abroad, he added.

© Press Association 2011