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Spotter going spotting again

PUBLISHED: 09:30 19 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

PLANE enthusiast Paul Coppin is heading back onto the international aircraft spotting trail after only seven days out of a Greek prison – but this time his wife Lesley is staying at home.

PLANE enthusiast Paul Coppin is heading back onto the international aircraft spotting trail after only seven days out of a Greek prison – but this time his wife Lesley is staying at home.

Affectionately branded a "lunatic" by astonished members of his own family, Mr Coppin says there is a serious reason for travelling to an air base in Belgium on Friday .

"I had been planning this trip for a number of months and I am going to go to prove a point," Mr Coppin said.

Mr Coppin, who organised the ill-fated trip to Greece which saw 12 Britons and two Dutch nationals imprisoned for 37 days, will be travelling to a Belgian airbase where he expects to see between 40 and 50 military aircraft.

He then intends to spend the afternoon doing some Christmas shopping, before returning to his wife Lesley, at Worlington Road, Mildenhall – if nothing goes wrong.

"I'll be going for the day. Visiting an air force base in the morning and then Christmas shopping in the afternoon.

"The last few days have been a bit surreal but I'm not going to cancel this trip because of what happened," Mr Coppin said.

Steve Warren, Lesley Coppin's son, said at first he couldn't believe his stepfather was going on another trip but now understands his reasoning.

"He's a lunatic," he laughed. "But he is making a point. Plane spotting has been Paul's hobby since he was four years old and I think the Greek authorities would have won if he had turned round and packed it in," said Mr Warren, of Lilac Drive, Lakenheath.

"But there is no way we are letting my mother go with him – we are taking her passport away," he said.

On Friday Mr and Mrs Coppin walked free from prison in front of the glare of the world's media.

The pair had been imprisoned and charged with spying offences before being bailed by the Greek authorities when the charges were reduced to illegal information collection.


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