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Cumbrian man jailed for five years in India

John Armstrong. Credit: ITV Border

A man from Wigton has been sentenced to five years in an Indian prison.

John Armstrong had been working as an anti-piracy guard in the Indian Ocean, when he and five other British men were intercepted by the Indian Coastguard.

They were interrogated under suspicion of a series of weapons offences, and spent six months in prison, before being granted bail.

Charges against the men were quashed in July 2014, however a court in Tuticorin has now convicted the men, and given them five year jail terms.

The men and their families are reportedly now seeking urgent legal advice.

Break-in while Dumfries woman slept

The purse of a Dumfries woman was stolen while she was upstairs sleeping.

The unsuspecting victim was upstairs when her purse, cash and credit cards were stolen overnight between Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 December.

"This was a despicable break-in at Christmas time to the home of an elderly lady while she was sleeping.

"We want to hear from anyone if they saw or heard anything suspicious overnight Wednesday/Thursday in the Averill Crescent area. They can call us through the 101 number at Dumfries."

– Constable Stephanie Brown at Dumfries


Richard Arkless MP: 'Over 96% of the constituents who contacted me asked me to vote against air strikes'

SNP MP Richard Arkless Credit: ITV Border

SNP MP Richard Arkless yesterday voted against David Cameron’s proposals for military escalation, including airstrikes, in Syria.

The House of Commons debated the subject for over 10 hours during the course of Wednesday and in the final vote MPs voted to support air strikes over Syria by 397 votes to 223.

Mr. Arkless said:

The Prime Minister did not make a convincing case for air strikes and I was proud to add my name to the cross-party amendment calling for the government to support a political solution rather than a military response to the situation in Syria.

The SNP has always taken the position that we would not support the extension of military action in Syria if the Prime Minister failed to answer the key questions posed to him by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. By a majority, the committee found that he had not addressed these concerns.

This issue has been hugely emotive for my constituents and over the last week I have been overwhelmed with letters, emails, telephone calls and messages from people all over Dumfries and Galloway expressing their concerns about military action in Syria. It was very clear to me that the vast majority of people wanted me to vote against the strikes and I support them in this view. Over 96% of the constituents who contacted me asked me to vote against air strikes and having looked at all the evidence, that is what I decided to do.

– MP Richard Arkless

Border region's MPs vote on Syria air strikes

Ground crew work on a RAF Tornado GR4. Credit: PA

In Cumbria four MPs have voted in favour of air strikes against so-called IS targets in Syria, while one MP voted against.

In the south of Scotland, two MPs voted against air strikes, while one MP voted in favour:

MPs who voted in favour of air strikes against IS targets. Credit: ITV Border
MPs who voted against carrying out air strikes. Credit: ITV Border


UK Airstrikes in Syria: What people in the Border region think

We've been out in Carlisle city centre canvassing opinions on the debate raging in the House of Commons today:

"If we air strike on Syria it's gonna have a massive impact on the UK. Probably not up here but certainly in the major cities, you know, it's retaliation that they thrive on, and they will just, you know, we'll feel it hard like Paris has, and like everyone else has."

"I think I'm for it to be honest. I think we need to do something rather than nothing, whether, it needs to be with a coalition and everything else of course, we can't just go it alone."

"War just gets war. It'll go on and on and on won't it. No I think there's too many people gonna suffer that shouldn't be suffering as well. No I think they've got to find another way around it."

Border region's MPs set to vote on Syria airstrikes this evening

David Cameron facing the opposition benches Credit: PA

This evening MPs will vote on whether to take military action in Syria. It's a subject that's dividing opinion in Parliament and here in the region.

David Cameron has called on MPs to back airstrikes against the 'evil' of so-called Islamic State in Syria. The matter is currently being debated in the House of Commons and the region's MPs will be voting on the matter at 10pm tonight.

Cumbrians send Christmas gifts to Calais migrants

Christmas presents are amongst the gifts. Credit: ITV Border

Christmas presents are amongst the aid packages that Cumbrians are sending to refugees and migrants in Calais.

A group of nine volunteers has set off from Carlisle, and they're also taking food, clothing and bedding to the series of camps known as 'The Jungle'.

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