A Brit coach driver successfully liberated Italian Riviera sun loungers from foreign occupation by setting fire to the towels traditionally used to denote German territorial sovereignty.
Glyn Bowden, 55, was driver for 55 South Wales tourists at at Diano Marina near San Remo. He yesterday recounted how the Germans "put their towels on the best sunbeds on the private beach and by a nearby pool", much to the chagrin of the British party, The Daily Mail reports.
Following complaints, Bowden told his party to "leave it to me", and duly dumped the towels at the end of the pool. He reported: "The following morning the Germans put them down even earlier so I did the same - with them shaking their fists at me from their windows."
"The next morning about 20 towels were there again so I collected them up, put them on a pile on the beach - and lit them. All the British tourists were cheering. But just a few minutes afterwards three police officers turned up and arrested me."
Indeed, Italian police held Bowden for two hours before the hotel's bosses successfully petitioned for his release. Bowden said: "They were going to charge me with criminal damage but the hotel - which owned the towels - intervened on my behalf."
The unrepentant Brit - who ensured no further German towel manoeuvres for the rest of the trip - declared: "The Germans thought they owned the private beach but I wanted to make sure my tourists got a crack of the whip."
We should note at this point that Bowden did in fact have recourse to international law to resolve the matter without incendiary action. Back in 2005, German lawyer Ralf Höcker declared sun lounger annexation illegal, explaining: "British tourist would be quite within their legal rights to ignore the reservation implied by the towels if there is nobody there." ®