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FCO 'raising the case at the highest levels'

The Foreign Office has told ITV Border it is continuing to raise the case of the six British men at the highest levels but cannot interfere in the judicial process. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is currently on a visit to India.

"Since the prosecution appealed, we have lobbied regularly and at the highest levels on the importance of ensuring that this case is resolved as quickly as possible.While we cannot interfere in the judicial process, it has been progressed faster than would otherwise have been the case in India. We continue to update the men and their families regularly on developments."

– Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Fundraiser for Cumbrian stranded in India

The family of a man from Cumbria, who's been stranded in India for a year, want the UK Government to put more pressure on the Indian authorities.

An event was held in Wigton yesterday to raise money for John Armstrong, who was arrested on firearms offences while working as a security guard, protecting ships from piracy.

But his family say they're not being told enough about what is happening to try to get him home.

Neil Billingham reports.

Bowling club packed to support local man

It's a year since a Cumbrian security guard was arrested in India on suspected firearms offences.

John Armstrong, from Wigton, had been carrying out anti-piracy work on an American-owned ship and was arrested while in port in Chennai along with his colleagues.

Despite being freed from prison and the charges being dropped the authorities are challenging the decision which means he is unable to leave the country.

His family in friends in Wigton have a held a fundraiser to try to help him pay his ongoing costs in India, including hotel bills and legal fees. They packed the town's bowling club to show their support for him.


Exclusive: Former British soldiers leave Indian jail

ITV Border has exclusive pictures of the moment five former British soldiers held in jail in India for almost six months were released on bail.

Lawyers for the men, including John Armstrong from Wigton in Cumbria, say they're now confident of getting the charges against them thrown out so they can come home.

They were arrested on weapons charges on a ship which their company says was providing properly certificated protection to other vessels from pirate attacks.

Gregg Easteal reports.

Family's relief at Wigton man's release from Indian jail

The family of a man from Wigton who's been held in prison in India for the past six months have spoken of their relief that he's been released.

John Armstrong was jailed along with five other Brits in October last year, but was released on bail on Saturday, 5 April.

His family in Wigton told ITV Border that they were happy that he had been allowed to leave prison but didn't know what the next stage of the legal process would be.

They confirmed he was now staying at a local hotel.

Mr Armstrong and the other British men who have been held in India must stay in the country while they fight to have charges dropped.

They are being accused of entering Indian national waters illegally, despite their company AdvanFort insisting they had the correct papers.

Wigton man released on bail from Indian prison

The prison in India where John Armstrong was being held. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A man from Wigton held in an Indian prison since October has left jail this morning.

John Armstrong is one of five British men who have been released on bail but must stay in India while they fight to have charges against them dropped.

Paul Towers from near York, remains in prison along with the captain of the ship they were working on. He was the most senior member of the six British men on board.

They were imprisoned almost six months ago after what they thought was a routine paperwork check aboard their security vessel Seaman Guard Ohio turned into them all being arrested.

Their company AdvanFort has always insisted the men were working to provide protection to other ships from pirate attacks, but the Indian courts have pressed weapons charges on the Brits.

Five of the six Britons were granted bail on Wednesday March 26 but have only just been released.

One of their bail conditions is that they can't leave the country. They could only return to the UK if charges against them are dropped.

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