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Chennai Six release statement after winning appeal against conviction

From top left clockwise: Nick Dunn, Paul Towers, Nick Simpson, Ray Tindall, John Armstrong and Billy Irving. Credit: Chennai Six campaign

Two men from the North West have told how they are looking forward to seeing their families after being held in India for more than four years.

Ray Tindall and Paul Towers were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with smuggling weapons and ammunition. They had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Now after years of campaigning, the former British soldiers, who are part of what's been called the Chennai Six, have won an appeal against their convictions.

The men are Billy Irving, 37, from Argyll and Bute, Nick Dunn, 31 from Northumberland, John Armstrong, 30, of Wigton, Cumbria, Nicholas Simpson, 47, of Catterick, North Yorkshire, Ray Tindall, 42, of Chester, and Paul Towers, 54, of Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

Speaking from their hotel room, they released a joint statement on Wednesday which read:

After four long years, we, along with the 29 crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, have been cleared by the Appeal Court.

We want to thank the court for reaching this decision. We are all in good health and eager to return to our families and friends.

We want to thank our legal counsel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Mission to Seafarers for helping us reach this point.

We have been glad to receive the many messages of support and care packages during our time in prison, and ask for time to reflect on our experience and to prepare for home.

– Chennai Six joint statement

It could take several weeks before documentation comes through which will allow them to return to the UK.