More than two thousand Britons ended up in Spanish jails last year after being arrested for drunk and abusive behaviour.
Not only did the number of arrests for holidaymakers on the Costas increase by a third on the previous year, but 6,710 Britons contacted embassies to say they had lost their passports.
The figures were released yesterday by the Foreign Office, which added a double warning – behave yourself when you are abroad, and make sure that you have taken out travel insurance.
In addition to the 2,032 Britons arrested in Spain, 695 needed hospital treatment 29 were raped, and 1,591 – mostly permanent residents – died there. Most of the arrests were the outcome of heavy drinking.
Recent examples include an incident in which a Spanish girl who had been sent to learn English at a summer camp for 10 to 14-year-olds in Tossa de Mar rang her parents to say that she and other children had locked themselves in a bungalow to hide from their English tutors. The two British tutors were drunk and trying to force their way into the bungalow. After police arrived, other children complained of being slapped and getting demands for money. Three Britons were arrested and face charges.
In June a car jumped a red light in the Spanish town of Estepona, and ploughed into a group of people, injuring two women, a two year old, and two babies. Police found the vehicle nearby and impounded it. The next day, a British tourist called at the police station claiming his car was missing. He later admitted he was the driver.