The FCO has revealed a selection of the strangest requests that have been asked of it in an effort to clarify what the FCO is actually for.

Jeremy Browne, Minister for Consular Affairs, said: “Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service.”

He added: “We need to be able to focus primarily on helping victims of serious crimes, supporting people who have been detained or assisting people who have lost a loved one abroad.”

Some of the silliest questions included a man who rang the Consulate in Florida to ask how he should get rid of the ants in his holiday villa, and a man who called the Consulate in Sydney to ask what clothes he should pack for his holiday.

More off-the-wall requests include a man who asked staff to contact his dominatrix who had failed to collect him at the airport, and a a call to the Foreign Office in Spain asking for Phil Collins’ telephone number.

Better still, a caller in Spain phoned up to ask Princes Charles’ shoe size so that they could send him a pair as a present.

The FCO has a global network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates to help British citizens abroad.

It is not, the FCO wishes to emphasise, a resource for weather forecasts and ticket bookings.

In light of the sheer volume of non-consular enquiries received by British Embassies and Consulates in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Andorra, the FCO has set up a special contact centre in Malaga to handle any calls that do not come under the the consular remit.