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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Britons held in resort crackdown
Women sunbathing on the beach
Faliraki has become a Mecca for a young crowd
Two Britons are still being held in custody on drugs charges after a spate of arrests on the Greek island of Rhodes

Eleven Britons were arrested in one week, in a police crackdown on lewd behaviour in the resort of Faliraki.

The Rhodes resort gained notoriety when it was shown on ITV1's controversial Club Reps series.

The Greek authorities believe the programme, which centred on the hedonistic, alcohol-fuelled antics of visiting Britons, has encouraged bad behaviour.


It is essential to keep your wits about you - a lot of people leave their inhibitions behind but they could be asking for trouble

Thomson Holidays
Seven Britons have already appeared before the public prosecutor on charges of offending public morals, but were all released.

The two men on drugs charges have been named as James Napier, 20, from Anfield, Liverpool, and John Murphy, 24, also from Liverpool.

Another two have already paid fines.

It is feared the numbers of young people looking for a good time has attracted rapists to Faliraki, possibly armed with date rape drugs or prepared to take advantage of drunk women.

Two British women have been raped in separate incidents in the resort in the past week.

Panos Argyros, director of the Greek National Tourist Office in London, said British holidaymakers had to respect local customs.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Young people, they go abroad, they have a drink, I understand, they go away, they want to have their own holidays, they want to have fun, I understand all these things.

"But they have to behave a little bit, in a way.

"They have to respect in a way the customs of the area."

'Loud and lairy'

Police patrols in Faliraki have been doubled, with a spokesman saying: "We are determined to clear up the resort".

Advice to women
Don't walk home alone in the dark
Don't accept lifts from strangers
Don't leave drinks unattended
Do tell someone where you are
Most tourists have heard about the rapes, and women said they were being much more careful.

Kerry from Doncaster told the BBC the English men were the worst on the island.

"They're very loud and lairy... everyone's saying stay away from the Greeks, but to me the Greeks have been really friendly and really nice, and I'd feel safer locked in a room with a Greek man than I would with an English guy."

The Foreign Office recently reviewed its travel advice to Greece, strongly advising women never to accept lifts from strangers or acquaintances.

Thomson Holidays, the UK's biggest tour operator, has advised its holidaymakers not to walk home alone at night in unlit areas, not to go home with strangers, and to make sure someone knows their whereabouts.

Inhibitions

The company has also, for the first time, issued its representatives in the resort with rape alarms.

A spokeswoman said the firm wanted tourists to have a good time, "but there are precautions they can take, such as not leaving a drink unattended and not walking back to their hotel alone at night."


We don't have a problem with the young people - just a few of the young people drink too much, make a problem

Taxi driver

Rachel O'Reilly, head of public relations for the company, said: "It is essential to keep your wits about you. A lot of people leave their inhibitions behind but they could be asking for trouble.

"There's a danger of thinking you are in a cocoon, that nothing can happen to you when you are abroad, but there is always potential danger where ever you go. And tourists are by no means above the law."

Lewd behaviour by British holidaymakers has also annoyed local residents.

Donald Holder, consul at the British Embassy in Athens, who recently discussed the situation with Faliraki's mayor, said: "There has been some bad behaviour in Faliraki and it's not unreasonable that the police are taking a firm line."

'Lewd and crude'

But one taxi driver told the BBC the problems had been exaggerated.

"We don't have a problem with the young people - just a few of the young people drink too much, make a problem."

BBC correspondent Johnny Diamond, in Rhodes, said perhaps it was the context which made the tourists' behaviour seem so bad.

"There's certainly a lot of crude and lewd behaviour here, but it's nothing more than you'd see in the average British town centre on a Saturday night.

"Perhaps it's just that bit more shocking to see it on the streets of a small Greek town."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Panos Argyros, Greek National Tourist Office
"The British market is the biggest market for us"
British 'plane spotter' Paul Coppin
"Police out there tend to be a lot more happy arresting foreigners than Greek people"
The BBC's Jonny Dymond
"There is a remarkable lack of aggression"
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