Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#Hope: British anti-piracy operatives held in Chennai "MAY BE GRANTED BAIL" after months in prison

The girlfriend of a Scottish anti-Piracy operative imprisoned in India has spoken of her hope that he will be released in the coming days.

Bill Irving, a former British soldier, and five other operatives were arrested by the Indian Navy in October last year after veering into Indian territorial waters whilst working aboard a US anti-piracy ship.

The six men were charged with illegally possessing weapons and have been held at the Puzhal prison in Chennai since.

Mr Irving's partner Yvonne MacHugh says lawyers are "optimistic" after a bail hearing on Wednesday "went well".

Mr Irving, from Argyll; Nick Dunn, from Northumberland; Ray Tindall from Chester; Paul Towers from Yorkshire; John Armstrong from Cumbria, and Nicholas Simpson, from North Yorkshire, were arrested on 12 October.

The American company they were working for, AdvanFort, has maintained that the ship and crew had the correct documentation to support the need for weapons.

In January relatives of the men submitted a 136,000-signature petition to Prime Minister David asking the government to push for the men's release.

The men's families have also launched a fund-raising campaign to support their loved ones while they are in prison.

Last month, Ms MacHugh spoke of the "dreadful" conditions the men are being held in, saying that "snakes were coming out of the toilets" and with "rats and spiders roaming around in the cells".

She also said she was shocked at his "bedraggled" state.

Local reports say that the men could be held up to a year before their case comes up in court.



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