A British father is facing a year in prison in Dubai after being arrested for carrying a single fake £20 note while on holiday with his family.
Bill Barclay was detained in front of his two children after handing over what turned out to be a counterfeit Scottish note at a bureau de change.
His partner Monique Fleming, 42, said yesterday the plasterer was held for 12 hours in a prison cell while detectives searched his hotel room and family possessions.
He was then released without charge when they failed to find any more counterfeit cash.
The family believe the fake note must have been handed to them in change in Scotland before their flight in October last year.
Relieved that their ordeal was over and believing the arrest had been a mix-up, Mr Barclay, 31, returned to Dubai for another holiday last month.
But as the family travelled through customs, police were waiting to speak to him over the same allegation from the previous year.
He was handcuffed, detained for three days and has been stranded in the country for the past two weeks because his passport was confiscated.
Miss Fleming, from Fernieside, Edinburgh, has since returned home with their children Billy junior, seven, and nine-year-old Madison. She is determined to clear her partner’s name and has hired a team of lawyers.
Speaking through a lawyer, Miss Fleming said: ‘We have no idea what is going to happen and we just want Billy home.
Miss Fleming, from Fernieside, Edinburgh, has since returned home with their children Billy junior, seven, (left) and nine-year-old Madison (right)
‘The children are extremely stressed and should never have had to endure this nightmare when all we wanted was a happy family holiday.
‘We are in shock and just hope they let him come home quickly. Our stress levels are sky-high. We knew it was a mix-up. Either someone had given the note to Billy as change, or maybe the detector machine was faulty.
‘There was certainly no intent from us to steal £20, but until you are released, you can’t help but be frightened.’
Detained in Dubai, an aid organisation which is representing the family, said the incident happened at a money exchange centre in the Al Hamra Mall in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Speaking from Dubai, Mr Barclay said: ‘It was distressing for the kids to see their dad arrested. Myself and Monique reassured them, we knew the police would see that it was a mistake.’
After being released, Mr Barclay said he was assured by police that he could return to the United Arab Emirates. He added: ‘They told me they wouldn’t have released me unless I was cleared.’
But at Dubai International Airport on September 15, the family were stopped by police who took Mr Barclay away.
He said: ‘I was in the computer as still wanted for passing fake money. I was held in shackles for three days in a cell.’
Carrying counterfeit money in Dubai carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail or a £1,000 fine. Now on bail, but without a passport, Mr Barclay is staying in a £120-a-night hotel.
He said: ‘We can’t afford for me to be staying in hotels like this, not working. If I were to be handed a prison sentence, it would cripple us financially.’
Detained in Dubai spokesman Radha Stirling said: ‘Clearly Mr Barclay received a counterfeit note that was already in circulation and is himself a victim.’
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘We are providing assistance to the family.’