Plane-spotting couple free

PAUL and Lesley Coppin, the Mildenhall couple caught up in the plane-spotting spy charges, have been cleared by a Greek court.Today the couple are overjoyed and relieved at the overturning of the conviction which saw a courtroom erupt into scenes of celebration as the seven-month-old spying convictions of the British planespotters were overturned.

PAUL and Lesley Coppin, the Mildenhall couple caught up in the plane-spotting spy charges, have been cleared by a Greek court.

Today the couple are overjoyed and relieved at the overturning of the conviction which saw a courtroom erupt into scenes of celebration as the seven-month-old spying convictions of the British planespotters were overturned.

The Coppins were among 1 spotters who returned for the two-day appeal, all walked free last night as they were acquitted and the sentences quashed.

Lesley Coppin, the only woman in the group, said: "It was fireworks going off, it was just everything, I'm very, very happy."


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Her husband Paul, whose company Touchdown Tours organised the trip last November, said: "It is a vindication of what we said all along."

Mr Coppin's mother, Jean Butt, 69, of Stowbridge, near Downham Market, said: "Justice has been done at last. It has been a rollercoaster year."

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The 14 spotters were arrested a year ago and at their trial in April six of the Britons and the two Dutchmen were found guilty of spying and sentenced to three years in jail. The other six Britons were convicted of aiding and abetting them and given one-year suspended sentences.

They endured more than six weeks behind bars and estimate their fight to clear their names has cost them £25,000 each, including £9,000 in bail money – which will now be returned – court fees, and legal bills.

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