Mixed reaction to plane spotters' bail

News that 14 plane spotters accused of spying in Greece have been granted bail has received a mixed reaction.

News that 14 plane spotters accused of spying in Greece have been granted bail has received a mixed reaction.

The 12 Britons and two Dutch will be released on bail of about £9,000 each after the spying charge was reduced.

Some supporters believe there is little chance of raising the money in time to have them home for Christmas.

Stephen Warren, the son of one of the accused Lesley Coppin, said the decision was "disgusting" and added there was little hope of raising the money in time for their release before Christmas.

Britain's Labour East MEP Richard Howitt, who has been campaigning on behalf of the group, said: "I regard this as a victory. I have no doubt that when it comes to trial the case will collapse - although technically this misdemeanour allegation could carry a five-year jail sentence if proved.

"It does worry me that asking each family to find £10,000 for bail is a lot. We are now just hoping that these people will be back home as soon as possible."

Lawyer Yannis Zacharias said: "We are very pleased as this was our objective all the way through."

Perdita Norris, 57, of Uxbridge, the wife of Peter Norris, said: "It is a lot of money to find. Not everyone can come up with that straight away. But this news is a lot more optimistic and I am hopeful that something can be sorted out."

The charges faced by the group are to be reduced from spying to a single charge of illegal information collection.

Mr Zacharias said: "The judges accepted the argument of the defence that if they have committed anything at all it is misdemeanour and amended the charge to that for all of them."

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