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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Faliraki police 'overreacted'
Greek beach
Resorts like Faliraki are popular with Britons
A British tourist who was arrested and thrown in jail on the Greek island of Rhodes for exposing his behind in public says police "overreacted".


After England had beaten Denmark 3-nil in the World Cup football, there were people, boys and girls, just running around the street absolutely naked

Simon Topp

Simon Topp, 20, was arrested after he and several other men pulled down their trousers to welcome a new coach load of British tourists to the resort town of Faliraki.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Greek police threw him into a cell without food or water for about 12 hours, before a Greek judge forced him to pay a 400 cash fine or face 30 days in prison.

Now back in Purley, Surrey, the Leicester University student accused police of being "totally heavy-handed" with him.

There were other Britons on the island doing much worse with impunity, he added.

"I mean, for example, after England had beaten Denmark 3-0 in the World Cup football, there were people, boys and girls, just running around the street absolutely naked," he said.

Police have been cracking down on drunken behaviour in the resort - which is hugely popular with young Britons - after widespread concerns and reports that two women had been raped.

'Louts'

Eleven Britons have been arrested in one week, seven on charges of offending public morals and four on drugs charges.

Two of those arrested on drugs charges are still in custody.

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

Nightclub scene
Clubbing is one of the most popular activities in the resort

Mr Topp said he understood the reasons for the police crackdown, adding: "I am not trying to condone my behaviour there."

"I can totally sympathise with the Greek police because I think Faliraki has been portrayed as somewhere for louts to just go and get drunk and behave very poorly."

The resort is hugely popular with young British people, and 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.

Mr Topp has also written a lengthy letter to the Daily Telegraph, defending himself and accusing the police who arrested him of "trying to take revenge on the disliked British tourists".


Talking PointTALKING POINT
Club rave sceneHoliday excess
Is lewd behaviour spoiling Britain's image overseas?
See also:

29 Jun 02 | Europe
29 Jun 02 | Europe
12 Jul 01 | Europe
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