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Video bid to stop passport thefts

07 July 2015 08:45

More than 20,000 UK passports were reported lost or stolen last year

More than 20,000 UK passports were reported lost or stolen last year

A video campaign has been launched in an attempt to stop holidaymakers having their passports stolen.

More than 20,000 UK passports were reported lost or stolen last year, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), which believes pickpockets and thieves are targeting Brits abroad.

It wants to avoid valuable holiday time and money being wasted if someone loses their passport or has it stolen.

The victim may need to report the theft to the police and attend the local consulate or embassy to be issued with an emergency travel document.

Know Before You Go

A new series of short films, which show a number of techniques thieves use to pilfer passports, will form part of the FCDO's Know Before You Go awareness campaign.

More than 400 organisations within the travel industry will be helping to spread the word, and the FCDO is also offering a number of general tips on passports.

It is hoped all travellers will benefit from the advice, whether they are package holidaymakers, gap year students, sports fans, or older travellers.

One of the tips warns holidaymakers to be aware of their surroundings and wary of strangers who take an unusual level of interest in them.

They should also lock their passport in a safe, or put it somewhere it cannot be seen if they have to take it out with them.

Make photocopies

In some countries visitors are only allowed to use a passport that is valid for six months after the date they travel, so it is important to check entry requirements before travelling.

It is also useful to have travel insurance before jetting off, in case problems other than a lost passport arise.

The FCDO advises travellers to make two photocopies of their passport. They should leave one with friends or family and take the second with them, or store an electronic copy securely.

It points out that there are some times, such as on a night out, when it might be possible to use the photocopy as alternative ID.

Foreign Office minister James Duddridge says people should "stay smart" overseas to avoid being a star of their own "passport hustle".