Donning military-style camouflage clothing or slipping into a bikini can lead to fines in some areas, while eating near churches is forbidden in the Italian city of Florence.

The warnings follow a recent Foreign Office report stating that 27 per cent of cases of Britons requiring consular assistance abroad were for arrests or detentions.

The FO list of unusual laws and customs includes:

Feeding pigeons is against the law.

It is illegal to take some commonly available nasal sprays containing pseudoephedrine into the country.

It is against the law to wear a bikini, swimming trunks or to go bare-chested away from the beach front area of the city.

– Chewing gum is strictly prohibited on the Mass Rapid Transit system.

– It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

– It is illegal to take mineral water into the country.

– Sunbathing topless is prohibited.

– Public observance of religions other than Islam is prohibited for non-Maldivians and visitors.

The Foreign Office’s consular services director, Charles Hay, said: “Every year British nationals find themselves on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly, resulting in fines or in some cases arrests or even jail sentences.

“It is important to remember that laws and customs can vary greatly from country to country and what may be perfectly legal in the UK could be subject to a fine or even a jail sentence in another.”

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