How 10 British tourists a day land in hospital at 'sun, sand and sex' hotspots
- Foreign Office said more than 6,000 people were jailed abroad last year
- Evidence suggests many crimes committed were alcohol-fuelled
- Rapes reported soared by 10 per cent from 115 to 127 cases
- Number of deaths of Brits abroad increased by four per cent
- Spain had the highest number of Britons hospitalised followed by Greece
By Ian Drury and Emily Allen
PUBLISHED: 18:13 EST, 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:53 EST, 19 July 2012
Ten Britons a day are ending up in hospital abroad and growing numbers are being arrested as young holidaymakers travel to the sun to get tanked up on cheap alcohol and drugs.
A staggering 3,739 UK travellers ended up in foreign casualty departments - a large proportion after boozing heavily in popular 'sun, sea and sex' hotspots.
And more than 6,000 were thrown in jail after falling foul of local laws including for carrying drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy - up 5 per cent, including a 2 per cent rise in drug arrests.
Injured: A staggering 3,739 UK travellers ended up in foreign casualty departments - a large proportion after boozing heavily in popular 'sun, sea and sex' hotspots and Spain is the most common destination for injury
Meanwhile, the number of deaths of British people overseas in the year to April increased by 4 per cent - from 5,972 to 6,237.
The highest number of arrests and detentions was in Spain, followed by the USA. Spanish arrests rose nine per cent in 2011/12, while the United States was up three per cent.
The most arrests of Britons for drugs was in the US, followed by Spain.
ACCIDENTS AND BALCONY FALLS: SPAIN TOP FOR UK DEATHS ABROAD
1. Spain 1,755
2. France 778
3. Germany 366
4. Thailand 296
5. Cyprus 237
6. USA 210
6. Portugal 210
8. Greece 147
9. Italy 135
10. New Zealand 127
The Foreign Office said anecdotal evidence from embassies and consulates overseas suggested many incidents were alcohol-fuelled, particularly in popular holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Balearics (which include Majorca and Ibiza), Malta and Cyprus.
Consular Affairs Minister Jeremy Browne said: 'It is important that people understand that taking risks abroad can land them on the wrong side of the law.
'The punishments can be very severe, with tougher prison conditions than in the UK. While we will work hard to try and ensure the safety of British nationals abroad, we cannot interfere in another country's legal system.
'We find that many people are shocked to discover that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cannot get them out of jail. We always provide consular support to British nationals in difficulty overseas. However, having a British passport does not make you immune to foreign laws and will not get you special treatment in prison.'
The snapshot of the perils of travelling abroad were highlighted in the Foreign Office's annual British Behaviour Abroad survey.
In total, consular assistance was needed on nearly 20,000 occasions - up 3 per cent. Of these, 5,405 were in Spain, 1,822 in the U.S. and 1,319 in France.
Spain had the highest number of Britons hospitalised, with 1,105 cases, followed by Greece (494) and Thailand (217).
Revellers at the fiesta of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. The country has the highest number of British deaths abroad and the highest number of Brits arrested and hospitalised
Injured: Ten Britons a day are ending up in hospital abroad having hurt themselves
Even though the country has a large number of elderly UK expats, over half those requiring medical help were in Majorca, which has seen a 132 per cent rise in incidents since 2009-10, and Ibiza.
The report found: 'Many involve teenage holidaymakers. Common causes include road accidents, pedestrian accidents, balcony incidents and heart attacks.'
Spain also had the largest number of UK deaths - 1,755. The large British retired community again accounted for the majority of fatalities but an alarming number involved young people.
Top jockey Campbell Gillies, 21, drowned in a swimming pool within four hours of arriving in a holiday resort on the Greek island of Corfu
Earlier this year, three Brits - Adam Atkinson, 20, Benjamin Harper, 28, and Charlotte Faris, 23, - died within a few days of each other plunging from balconies or stairs in the beach resort of Magaluf on Majorca.
And last month top jockey Campbell Gillies, 21, drowned in a swimming pool within four hours of arriving in a holiday resort on the Greek island of Corfu - after going boozing with his pals.
Rapes reported to consular staff last year soared by a shocking 10 per cent - from 115 to 127 - as young women often let their guard down overseas.
A Foreign Office source said: 'A lot of young people go wild and the sunshine combined with drinking cheap beer and cocktails all day leads to risky behaviour which can land them in serious trouble. At worst, they are brought home in a coffin.'
On the alarming rape statistics, officials urged women to 'take the same precautions they do at home to avoid putting themselves at risk' - staying with friends, avoiding car rides with strangers and keeping an eye on food and drink so they can't be spiked.
More than 56million Britons travelled abroad in 2011-12.
But the Foreign Office research revealed that half of Brits surveyed did not realise that without travel insurance they would be liable to pay medical bills running into thousands of pounds if they were injured or fell ill abroad.
Launching a drive to encourage holidaymakers to take out cover, Consular Services Minister Jeremy Browne said: 'Whilst the prospect of ending up in a foreign hospital may be the last thing on your mind as you head overseas for a summer break, sometimes things do go wrong on holiday and many people deeply regret not taking out comprehensive travel insurance.'
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