Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 11:38 UK

Latvian warning for British stags

Riga
Riga has become a popular destination for British stag parties

The mayor of the Latvian capital of Riga says British stag parties will no longer be welcomed with open arms.

Nils Usakovs told Latvian magazine Rigas Laiks the city had run out of patience with unruly British tourists who misbehaved.

Mr Usakovs said: "The only problem is that we have a large share of those British tourists."

Riga is one of a handful of low-cost central and eastern European cities popular with stag parties.

Mr Usakovs said some British visitors were guilty of misbehaving: "Let's not be politically correct - unfortunately, this is their speciality."

He also said if the city had more regular tourists the badly behaving British visitors "would not be as noticeable".

The British first started to make bachelor parties and the most popular thing was using our monument of liberty as a toilet
Latvian spokeswoman

According to the Foreign Office, there were 93,200 visitors from the UK to Latvia in 2008.

The biggest complaint is about tourists who urinate on central Riga's Freedom Monument, which honours soldiers killed while fighting for independence between 1918-20, Mr Usakovs said.

Many visitors have been arrested and fined for relieving themselves on the 138ft-high monument, or climbing on it naked to pose for pictures.

'Tourist issues'

According to The Times, a spokeswoman for Mr Usakovs said Riga's problems began with the arrival of the first low-budget airlines.

She said: "The British first started to make bachelor parties and the most popular thing was using our monument of liberty as a toilet.

"We have a stigma about British tourists. They are probably not the ones we want to see.

"We are thinking about making a tourist police who will be located in the old town and will pay more attention to these tourist issues."

Last year the country's then interior minister, Mareks Seglins, complained about "English pigs" and said they were a "dirty, hoggish people" after a British tourist was sentenced to five days in prison after being caught urinating on the war memorial.

Earlier this year South Wales Police sent two officers to Riga to advise on how to deal with hen and stag parties from Britain.



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