'Can you give me 50 Cent's number?': The oddest requests made to Britain's Foreign Office in 2019

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson attends the world premiere of the Starz television series “Power" final season at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in New York.
Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson attends the world premiere of the Starz television series “Power" final season at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, in New York. Copyright ©2019 Evan AgostiniEvan Agostini
By Alice Tidey
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British diplomatic staff handled some pretty unusual requests in 2019. Here are 10 of the weirdest enquiries it received.


A request for US rapper 50 Cent's phone number and another asking for the nationality of a sperm sample to be checked were among the oddest enquiries the UK's diplomatic staff received in 2019.

Britain's Foreign Office (FCO) answered 330,000 calls last year from Britons abroad, and on Monday it released a list of 10 of the most unusual requests it was asked to deal with.

One man rang the FCO asking to be put on a different airline for his return trip from a holiday because he hadn't liked the food he'd been served on the way there.

Another caller enquired about whether his child, who had recently been born overseas, could qualify for British citizenship because both parents were certain he'd been conceived in the UK.

A couple in China also rang after engaging the services of a sperm donor to ask the staff to verify the nationality of the sperm as British while a customer called from Nigeria to request the British Consulate share 50 Cent's phone number.

Another called who had recently come back from a trip to France enquired as to whether the consulate staff could pop down to the hotel he had been staying at to retrieve the headphones he'd forgotten. Meanwhile, a woman calling from Sweden wanted advice on what to wear to the event she'd been invited to at Windsor.

"While we can't hand out famous rappers' home numbers, collect your lost property or advise on Windsor Castle's dress code, our dedicated consular staff are there to help Brits who run into trouble when they're abroad," a spokesperson for the FCO said.

The statement highlighted that it primarily provides assistance to Brits who lose their passport, are hospitalised or imprisoned abroad or need details of local services such as lawyers, doctors and interpreters.

It also deplored that 20,000 of the calls it received were from people ringing to intentionally waste staff's time or be abusive towards them.

London's Metropolitan Police also flagged on Monday that 25,448 of the 2.15 million calls it received between January 1 and November 30 were hoaxes.

"Not only did these calls waste police time and resources, they also potentially put Londoners at risk in what could be a life or death situation," it said in a statement.

Among the calls it received were a man ringing to ask for the time, another to complain about a packet of biscuits being out of date while a woman called to complain after being sent three saveloy sausages and chips from her local fish and chips shop instead of the one she'd ordered.

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