Figures highlight drug arrests abroad

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The Independent Travel

Drug offences now account for a fifth of all arrests of Britons abroad, Foreign Office (FO) figures showed today.











There are currently 22 British nationals facing capital charges for drugs worldwide, the FO said.



Drink is also a major factor in the number of Britons being arrested abroad or needing hospital treatment, the FO statistics revealed.



Relating to the period April 2008 to March 2009, the figures showed that more Britons were arrested or taken to hospital in Spain than any other country.



But as a proportion of the number of visitors, Britons were most likely to be arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and most likely to need hospital treatment in Thailand.



The figures showed:



* There were 991 arrests of Britons for drug offences worldwide in the period April 2008 to March 2009, with drugs accounting for a quarter of all the arrests of Britons in Thailand;



* The most arrests of Britons were in Spain (2,290) followed by the USA (1,534) and the UAE (294);



* Overstaying visas contributed to a high number of offences;



* The country where Britons were most likely to have to go to hospital was Spain (741) followed by Greece (433), France (203) and Thailand (198);



* A number of hospital cases were due to moped and motorbike accidents and drink-related incidents such as balcony falls;



* There were 5,629 reported deaths of UK citizens abroad including natural causes, accident deaths and murders;



* There were 116 cases of rape of Britons reported, including 28 in Greece, and 154 sexual assaults, but most countries reported no cases of rape or assault on Britons;



* Lost or stolen passports were by far the most frequent of the problems encountered by Britons abroad, with 29,774 reported incidents worldwide, including 7,548 in Spain;



* Foreign Office staff dealt with 2.1 million consular inquiries worldwide.



Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said: "The report highlights just how many British nationals encounter difficulties while abroad. Helping those who do get into trouble is a vital part of our job, but so many of the problems we deal with can be avoided with a little bit of preparation.



"Researching the local laws and customs before you travel could avoid time in a foreign jail. Getting comprehensive travel insurance means that while an accident may disrupt your holiday, it won't bankrupt you in extortionate medical or repatriation bills.



"The message is clear - have a great time while you're away, but make the necessary preparations before you go."

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