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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Trouser-drop tourist avoids jail
Faliraki
Faliraki is popular with young British tourists
A 20-year-old tourist from south Wales has been saved from a year in a Greek jail for dropping his trousers while on holiday in the resort of Faliraki.

His family stumped up the money to release him, according to his aunt Margaret Lewis.

A Greek police spokesman said that 20-year-old Matthew Maloney had been given a choice of a year in jail on the neighbouring island of Kos or paying a fine of 3,100 euros - equivalent to just over 2,000.

Mr Maloney was on a week-long break with 23-year-old Mr David Jenkins, from Pontypool, South Wales who said his friend had been arrested when they went out in the town after arriving on Thursday night.

Speaking from his hotel in Faliraki, Mr Jenkins said: "We had been drinking all day. We'd downed about 300 between us in beer and shorts.

Reaction 'over the top'

"Matthew was just drunk and thought it would be a laugh. He didn't do it at anybody in particular. He was just messing about.

"He went to pull down his trousers and the police came behind him and hit him on the back with a truncheon. He didn't know police were there."

Mr Jenkins said he last saw his friend on Friday afternoon after he was released from a Rhodes police station.

He had since heard that he had raised the money to pay the fine and had been released.

He added: "I think their (the authorities) reaction is way over the top. "I can't wait to get home. This place is OK in the day but at night the police just make you feel uneasy."

Mr Maloney phoned his father Sean, from Pontypool, to get the money to Greece, according to his aunt Margaret Lewis. Mr Maloney cabled 2000 to Greece to obtain his son's release.

The resort of Faliraki on the island of Rhodes, has been in the headlines this week after five holiday reps were arrested for encouraging illegal pub crawls.

All charges against the five have since been dropped. Just a week before a British teenager died after being slashed in the neck with a broken bottle during a brawl.

And earlier this month, 29-year-old Matthew Benney, from Dunvant, near Swansea, died after being hit by a bin truck in the resort.

Greek authorities are investigating claims that Mr Benney may have ran under the truck for a bet.

Debauched behaviour

The debauched behaviour of British holidaymakers on the island has led Greek police to take what they describe as a "tough stance".

Commenting on Mr Maloney, a Greek police spokesman confirmed that he'd been charged with dropping his trousers on the street in Faliraki and that his family were trying to raise the money to pay the fine.

A Club 18-30 spokesman confirmed that Maloney had booked his holiday through the tour company.

He said: "We're still trying to find out exactly what happened. "We can only repeat that we don't condone lewd behaviour in public."




SEE ALSO:
Life in Faliraki
19 Aug 03  |  Magazine
Five holiday reps released
18 Aug 03  |  West Midlands
Man charged over Faliraki death
14 Aug 03  |  Cambridgeshire


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