Plane-spotters set to leave jail

A five-week ordeal for 14 British and Dutch plane-spotters held in Greek jails is due to end.

A five-week ordeal for 14 British and Dutch plane-spotters held in Greek jails is due to end.

The group are expected to be freed on bail at about 10am Greek time (8am Irish time) after families for each raised the necessary £9,000 guarantee.

Three judges granted bail on Wednesday after they dropped the original spying charges but the group must return to the country next year to stand trial for a lesser charge of gathering secret information.

The 12 Britons and two Dutchmen were arrested at an air show in the Greek town of Kalamata on November 8 for allegedly taking photos at a military base.

They have all denied claims they ignored earlier warnings.

Concerns had also grown for their well-being and the conditions in the jails where they were being kept, especially for the only woman in the group, Lesley Coppin, whose detained husband Paul organised the trip.

Low cost air carrier easyJet is on stand-by and ready to fly the group home for free.

Perdita Norris, of Uxbridge, west London, waiting for husband Peter to return, took out a bank loan to post bail.

She said: "The nightmare may not be completely over, with them having to return next year, but this is a very big and important step. It will just be a huge relief to have Peter home."

The two Dutchmen, whose government loaned them the bail money, were due to be released on Thursday afternoon but further delays meant they had to spend another night behind bars, along with the Britons.

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