Image courtesy of Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/PA Images

The first of the Chennai Six has arrived back in the UK, more than four years after the group of former British soldiers was jailed in India on weapons charges.

Billy Irving touched down at Glasgow Airport on Wednesday morning.

He and five other British men had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean but they were jailed in October 2013 after being charged with carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

After years of campaigning, they won an appeal against their convictions last week and were given permission to leave India.

The other five men - Nick Dunn, John Armstrong, Nicholas Simpson, Ray Tindall and Paul Towers - are expected to arrive in the UK on Thursday.

Mr Irving, from Argyll and Bute, said he wanted to send a "massive thank you" to everyone who has supported the men during their time in India.

He told Forces News at the airport:

"I just want to thank everyone, they've been so kind. Thank you for your support, thank you so much. It feels excellent to be home."

Chennai 6 Campaign

The British military veterans were acquitted by a court in India after first being jailed on weapons charges while working as security guards on ships to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Loved ones of the former British soldiers currently in prison in Chennai, India, have been campaigning for their release since they were arrested in October 2013.

The crew were working for the American company, AdvanFord, an anti-piracy security company protecting commercial ships off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, when the MV Seaman Guard Ohio was detained and weapons found on board.

The company insists that the ship was in fact in international waters, and was carrying weapons for security purposes.

The charges were quashed in July 2014, but the crew's passports were detained by the Indian government, meaning they were unable to leave the country.

Following a police appeal, the men were sentenced to five years in prison in January 2016.

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