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Subject: Councils baffled by quirky queries

Written By: Philip Eno on 08/20/10 at 5:18 pm

A woman rang her local council to ask if a car park was haunted as her vehicle had 'moved' to another parking space while she was shopping.

Another member of the public rang his local authority to ask if he could roll up a zebra crossing, according to a survey of the most bizarre requests received by town halls.

Other queries that had officials scratching their heads included someone who wanted to know if they could register the death of a person who was still alive, and a request to be told the plot of She Stoops to Conquer, an 18th century play.

An East Dorset resident rang the town hall's tourist information centre while in Cologne, Germany, to find out why his bus hadn't arrived.

The same office received a call from a resident temporarily in South Korea, who wanted a Christmas turkey ordered from the local butcher.

Meanwhile a German man turned up at a council premises in Northumberland demanding to be given political asylum, and police had to be called when he refused to accept that all Europeans are free to enter Britain.

A caller to Surrey council complained that the phone number they had been given for their library was out of order - only to be told that '0900 1800' were in fact its opening hours.

Baroness Eaton, chairman of the Local Government Association which compiled the survey, said: "These examples show just how broad a range of issues council staff deal with each day. Councils literally have to be ready for anything from the mundane to the mind-boggling.

"While the vast majority of calls fall within the bounds of councils' usual responsibilities, there are occasions when call handlers are left baffled."

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