Brits banged up abroad for odd reasons – boozy circus break-ins and 5p fireworks
Brits are continuing to jet off abroad after dozens waited for restrictions to ease before going to let off steam, but one drunken night as a tourist could easily lead to a nightmare holiday behind bars.
Boozed-up Brits have faced consequences as serious as the death penalty after wild nights out overseas, while others were merely working to make ends meet when they somehow ended up in jail.
The shocking case of Jim Fitton, who has been dubbed Britain's very own Indiana Jones, recently hit headlines after he was jailed for smuggling historic items out of Iraq.
While campaign groups such as Detained in Dubai have warned that thousands of Brits will continue to be arrested for insane crimes like sending a rude text message.
Below the Daily Star have taken a look back at six bizarre cases which saw Brits detained and locked up abroad.
Man arrested for trying to steal an elephant
Nick Bass, from Sheffield, was jailed after he broke into a circus and tried to steal an elephant and a costume.
The Brit was arrested after clowning around during a drunken night out at a local circus in Cairns, Australia.
He joined another random reveller on a road trip and tried on clown costumes worth £2000. They were put behind parts while they awaited trial.
"It was jumping on [ the ] trampoline, playing with the trapeze, running around like drunken children," he said at the time.
Fortunately, the more serious charges against Nick were dropped and he was only charged with breaking and entering.
He said the courtroom was in hysterics over his crime, and his sentence was decreased to a £500 fine, while his mate was made to pay £1,200 after damaging a police car during arrest.
Brit Jailed for letting off 5p firework
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Tom Hudson, from Kidderminster in the Midlands, travelled to Thailand to celebrate New Year but ended up in a cell.
The self-confessed raver said he was threatened at knifepoint by a hotel worker during his trip and decided to take a boat to Phuket with his friend George after the ordeal.
At midnight, the pals joined everyone on the main street to celebrate and were approached by a woman selling a box of fireworks for "pennies."
Describing the moment he lit the firework, the 23-year-old said: "When it went bang, someone grabbed my hand. At first, I thought it was someone helping me set the firework off but then he took it and threw it on the floor.
"He put my hands behind my back and put me in handcuffs. I threw my phone to George and then four cops turned up in uniform and took me to the police station in the back of a white pick-up truck."
The law against fireworks in Thailand was strengthened in 2018. It views them the same way as explosives which means mi-use can lead to the death penalty, reports The Mirror.
Luckily, Tom was released after one of the girls he was chatting to earlier that night spoke to the police. He was made to withdraw around £500 ahead of his release.
Taxi driver accused Brit woman of having sex in back seat
Rebecca Blake, 35, was accused of having sex with a stranger in the back seat of a taxi which tests later revealed to not be true.
The Brit had left her home in Dorking, Surrey, and had moved to Dubai where she met Connor McRedwood, 30, at a brunch party in May 2012.
They shared a cab together after drinking and opened a bottle of beer as they travelled, reports The Sun.
She said at the time: “I had no idea alcohol was illegal unless you had a licence. I had no idea that was going to be the moment my life completely changed.
“He had a bottle of beer on him. We got into a taxi and the driver started going completely the wrong way.
“We ended up having a bit of an argument. Next thing we know, the driver pulls over. There's a police car on the side.”
Rebecca was then arrested for allegedly having sex, public indecency and drinking without a licence and was locked up in a cockroach-infested jail.
“It looked like a dungeon. It was all underground," she added.
“The smell was revolting. It smelled of really strong urine."
Five days later Rebecca was released on bail but still had to attend court. The sex charge was eventually dropped but she was found guilty of indecency because the man touched her shoulder.
Chef accused of hefty drug deal after booking table for 10
Chef Luke Tully said he was banged up in Dubai for 19 months after cops reportedly thought a customer booking a table was code for a drug deal.
The dad-of-four was employed at a restaurant in the city and received a text message from a dealer he knew and was asked whether they could book a table for 10.
Authorities arrested the dealer and saw the message which they believed was code for a deal requesting 10g of cocaine, reports The Mirror.
The 43-year-old said cops threatened to throw him off a balcony unless he “told them where the drugs were."
He claims to have spent a staggering £150,000 on legal fees before finally being released and travelling back home to Hertfordshire.
He warned Brits about visiting the UAE and said: “Don’t bother if you value your liberty.”
Brit 'Indiana Jones' faces death penalty for taking broken pottery
Retired geologist Jim Fitton, 66, is facing the death penalty after being accused of taking 12 stones and shards of broken pottery that he discovered during an archaeological tour.
The historic pieces were found on both the dad and German national Volker Waldmann as they prepared to fly out of Iraq in March.
He plead with judges and told them that he didn't carry out the act with criminal intent and said he wasn't aware that he was breaking the law.
His daughter Leila Fitton said she was “heartbroken and afraid” as her dad remained in detention on her wedding day, reports the Independent.
“It breaks my heart that my father, Jim, is not here," she said earlier this month.
"The uncertainty of his situation and the horrible, but very real, possibility of the death penalty is hanging over us.”
Jim's family launched a petition calling on the government to act, it read: “Whilst on the tour, our father visited historical sites around Iraq, where his tour group found fragments of stones and shards of broken pottery in piles on the ground.
"Tour members were told that this would not be an issue, as the broken shards had no economic or historical value.”
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