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Wed 18 Mar 2015 12:02 PM

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British plane spotters stay behind bars for further month - report

Three arrested after they were reportedly taking photos and using a telescope near Fujairah Airport

British plane spotters stay behind bars for further month - report
Conrad Clitheroe, 54, and Gary Cooper, 45 - both from Greater Manchester – were reportedly taking photos and using a telescope near Fujairah Airport.

The three British plane spotters arrested in the UAE over national security fears have been detained in prison for a further month.

UAE expat Neil Munro, along with Conrad Clitheroe, 54, and Gary Cooper, 45 - both from Greater Manchester – were reportedly taking photos and using a telescope near Fujairah Airport, which is known for older and rarer aircraft.

They attracted suspicion and were taken to a police station for questioning. Ciltheroe and Cooper were due to fly home on the day they were arrested. After being initially told they would be released, the matter was escalated to one of national security.

The trio, who have been behind bars since their arrest on February 22, were told this week that their detention in custody would be extended for a further 28 days, until April 12.

According to a report on the Manchester Evening News, their families have spent over $13,000 on legal fees. A crowdfunding site set up by their colleagues has raised over $6,000 (£4,000).

Arabian Business digital magazine: read the latest edition online

M Wilkinson 5 years ago

How stupid can you get? Why on earth would anyone go to a friendly foreign country that is, with reluctance and risk, in the process of assisting in the air war against the IS terrorists and then try to record their military aircraft flying from a military base. There is absolutely no excuse for such stupidity and it irrelevant why they did it.

Peter Thomas 5 years ago

Fujairah airport is not a military base and military aircraft do not fly from there !
I am sure a lot of spotters who read this say but for the grace of God this could have been me.
What is our government doing to overturn this injustice ?

P Field 5 years ago

Check your facts! It is not a 'military base' and there are no military aircraft there. It's operations are almost exclusively cargo related!

Aircraft Spotter 5 years ago

@ M Wilkinson
Get the facts! FJR/OMFJ is NOT a military base, and there are NO military aircraft based there. FJR is mainly cargo, and there are dozens of stored aircraft (Western and Russian) aircraft. THAT is was is of interest to aircraft spotters.
However, aircraft spotters are well advised - and that is valid on a global basis, and works even in the security-phobic US - to contact the airport ops duty manager beforehand and coordinate your activities. This has helped me a lot, and even made some more friends. You just don't do certain things in certain countries...

Matt Williams 5 years ago

To all of you aircraft spotters based in the UK, your information tells you what you want to hear...having lived in this region for over 12 years I can tell you that things change on a dime ref what is and what isn't based or flown out of that particular airport. This region is under heightened security protocols for obvious reasons.