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Foreign Office supporting British pensioner's family

The Foreign Office says it is providing support to the family of a British pensioner being held in Morocco for "homosexual acts".

Ray Cole has been sentenced to four months in prison in the Moroccan capital Marrakech for "being gay", and the 70-year-old's son revealed that he is sleeping on a "concrete floor" surrounded by "murderers, rapists and paedophiles".

In a statement to ITV News, an FCO spokesperson said: “We can confirm the detention of a British national in Morocco. We are providing consular assistance.”


Son reveals British gay pensioner's plight in Moroccan jail

The son of a British pensioner jailed in Morocco for "homosexual acts" has spoken of his father's "bleak life" in prison.

Ray Cole, 70, was on holiday when he was arrested last week and sentenced to four months in prison.

Ray Cole's son posted a picture of the prison his father is being held. Credit: Facebook/Adrian Cole

Adrian Cole posted a picture of Central in Marrakech where his father is being held on Facebook.

He said his father - who came out as gay a few years ago- is forced to sleep on the concrete floor of his cell that he shares with 60 people including "murderers, rapists and paedophiles".

Describing his father's current life as "pretty bleak", he reveals he is served "boiled vegetables once a day".

Mr Cole said his father's treatment is an "embarrassment for the Moroccan authorities".

Morocco 'not safe for British tourists' after gay man's arrest

An MP has said that Morocco is not safe for British tourists after a holidaymaker has been jailed in Morocco on "homosexual acts"charges.

I have been doing all I can to help free Mr Cole from these appalling charges. I am deeply concerned about his safety and it is clear that if you visit Morocco you are at serious risk of facing trumped up charges for medieval crimes. The message is clear - Morocco is not safe for British tourists.

I am gravely concerned by the state of Moroccan prisons, and the care and the safety he will have in jail.

I'm raising it with ministers, asking them to intervene more directly on his behalf. It is a shocking and appalling situation for a British national to be in, and it is really important to get him back to the UK.

– Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover

A #freeraycole hashtag has been set up on Twitter and a Facebook page has also been set up calling for Mr Cole's release.

British pensioner jailed in Morocco for 'gay acts'

A British holidaymaker has been jailed in Morocco for "homosexual acts", according to his family.

Ray Cole has been imprisoned in Morocco because of his sexuality, his family said. Credit: Free Ray Cole/Facebook

Ray Cole, 70, from Deal in Kent was arrested last week and imprisoned for four months.

Mr Cole's son said he had been sleeping on a concrete floor and sharing with "murderers, rapists and paedophiles."


Home Office warns drivers over stowaways

The Home Office said tonight that 13 people found in a lorry in Kent, whose nationalities have yet to be confirmed, will be questioned later.

Officials had this warning for lorry drivers entering the UK:

Drivers and hauliers must take adequate steps to secure their vehicles from illegal immigrants trying to smuggle themselves across the border.

If a driver does not take these steps - and is found with people hiding in their vehicle - they will be issued with a civil penalty.

– home office spokesman

One person hospitalised after 13 found in a lorry

One person has been hospitalised after being found in the back of a lorry near the Dartford Crossing in Kent, along with 12 other people.

The lorry was stopped near the Dartford Crossing in Kent Credit: Sean Dempsey / PA

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the person taken to hospital was not believed to be in a life-threatening condition.

They said: "Our crews assessed 13 individuals at the scene. One required transportation to hospital and they were taken to the Darent Valley Hospital. "They didn't appear to be in a life-threatening condition. The other 12 were taken to Dover."

Kent Police confirmed they were called to a report of suspected illegal immigrants but said that the immigration service was managing the investigation.

Youth crime tsar suspended over alleged relationship

A youth crime tsar has been temporarily suspended from duty following allegations she had a relationship with a married former councillor.

Kerry Boyd became the Kent youth crime commissioner in March after her predecessor Paris Brown, then 17, resigned over offensive comments she made on Twitter.

Kerry Boyd, 19, (left) with Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, in Maidstone, Kent Credit: PA

The 20-year-old former London 2012 torchbearer is reported to have had a close friendship with former Kent county councillor Robert Burgess. A spokeswoman for Kent Police and Crime Commission Ann Barnes said that she was "supporting Kerry at this difficult time".

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