Burnley security boss flees Tunisia riots

Adam prior to him being told he had to leave Tunisia. (s)
Adam prior to him being told he had to leave Tunisia. (s)

A BURNLEY security boss had a terrifying journey out of Tunisia at the weekend after the country descended into chaos.

Adam Wallace (31) was flown out of the African country on Saturday after a state of emergency was declared.

Mr Wallace, who works at Tesco in Burnley, had booked a last-minute one-week holiday to Tunisia online with tour operator Thomson on Monday, January 10th, and flew out last Wednesday.

“No one said that there were any problems in Tunisia when I booked, but I think it was part of the regime in Tunisia that no one was allowed to say anything,” said Mr Wallace, who is the security manager at Tesco in Burnley.

“The first myself and the other holidaymakers in the hotel knew about it was late on Thursday after we watched reports on Sky News in our hotel rooms, which said there was rioting in Tunis.”

Father-of-one Mr Wallace, who was staying in a town called Port El Kantaoui just outside Sousse, said people then started to ask their holiday reps what was going on.

“Things just escalated from there. Thomas Cook at that point said it was going to start flying people home, but Thomson said it was going to hang fire and see how things panned out.”

That evening, he was forced to abide by an overnight curfew with the state television announcing threats of force for anyone who violated the restrictions.

At 11-30 p.m., he received a call in his hotel room from his Thomson representative telling him to be packed and ready to go at 7 a.m the following day.

“The hotel was fabulous, the area around was great and you really couldn’t tell that there was any trouble,” said Mr Wallace. “We were all just going along with what the Foreign Office had said, but once we started travelling to the airport on Saturday morning, it all hit home.

“It was very unnerving. There were a lot of Army personnel and police on the roads and we saw a petrol station that had been smashed up and people were looting it. The streets were just filled with smoke.

“It was very intimidating. It was very eerie and people on the bus didn’t speak to each other, they were just taking it all in. There were gangs of men hanging around. You could feel it was going to kick off again.”

Mr Wallace reached Monastir Airport, which was packed with holidaymakers desperate to get home, and their flight took off just 40 minutes later.

Once on the plane, Mr Wallace could see smoke and flames from a nearby prison which had been set on fire.

He said: “I’m just annoyed I wasn’t warned about the trouble before. If there had been any sort of uncertainty I wouldn’t have booked the holiday.”