British plane spotters face jail in Kenya

2016-03-21 16:06


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Nairobi - Four British plane spotters were on Monday told to pay a fine or face a year in a Kenyan jail for photographing aircraft in the capital Nairobi.

Aeroplane enthusiasts Paul Abbott, 47, Steve Gibson, 60, Ian Glover, 46 and Eddie Swift, 47, were arrested earlier this month at Wilson Airport, a small but busy regional hub used by bush pilots, tourists, humanitarian agencies and cargo carriers, after snapping pictures while sitting in an airport bar.

On Monday, chief magistrate Heston Nyaga at the Makadara court in Nairobi found the four guilty of trespassing in a restricted area and taking photographs without permission.

He fined each man 200 000 Kenya shillings (about £1 400) warning that failure to pay would result in a year in jail.

The four friends, all from Greater Manchester, were on a two-week African plane-spotting holiday that took them to Ethiopia and then Kenya, posting snaps of planes on their Facebook pages, according to British newspaper reports.

"Eddie and his mates are just chaps who like taking pictures of planes," Peter Smith told The Sun newspaper, describing his brother as an "anorak", a term for somebody with a compulsive hobby.

British plane spotters abroad have frequently found themselves in court, arrested on suspicion of espionage or terrorism, but the cases rarely result in jail time.

Read more on:    kenya

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