Manchester

Plane spotters: Freed Britons held in UAE back in UK

Conrad Clitheroe and Gary Cooper Image copyright Valerie Clitheroe
Image caption Conrad Clitheroe and Gary Cooper were visiting Neil Munro in the UAE when they were arrested

Two British plane spotters held in a United Arab Emirates prison on suspicion of spying have landed back in the UK.

Conrad Clitheroe and Gary Cooper, both from Stockport and expat Neil Munro were arrested while observing planes near Fujairah Airport in February.

It is understood they were freed after espionage charges were dropped at the Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi.

They hugged family after arriving at Manchester Airport from Dubai.

Mr Clitheroe, 54, and 45-year-old Mr Cooper were visiting their friend, Manchester-born Mr Munro, when they were arrested by an off-duty police officer who had seen them looking at planes from a car.

Image caption Gary Cooper and Conrad Clitheroe hugged family after landing at Manchester Airport

The three men were reportedly taking notes near the airport, situated about 80 miles (130km) from Dubai, when they were arrested on 22 February.

Relatives were told they were held for "national security" reasons. The men insisted they had not taken any photographs of aeroplanes.

UAE resident Mr Munro has also been released.

While plane spotting is legal in the UAE, it is not widely understood.

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