Two British plane-spotters leave India | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Two British plane-spotters leave India

delhi Updated: Mar 09, 2010 21:05 IST

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Two British nationals who were arrested on the charge of recording conversations between pilots and Air Traffic Control today left the country for Bahrain enroute London, four days after a court here ordered them to be freed.

Steven Martin Ayris (55) and Stephen Hampston (46) were apprehended by security agencies from a fivestar hotel near the Indira Gandhi International Airport on February 15 after the hotel staff reported to police that they were indulging in “suspicious activities”.

The security agencies later found that that plane- spotting was their hobby. The agencies found that with the help of equipment seized from them, they could only listen to conversation but neither interfere in it nor further transmit.

The duo were released on March 5 by a local court which accepted their admission of guilt and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on each.

Seeking lenient punishment, the two accused, hailing from Bristol in the United Kingdom, claimed ignorance about the penal consequences of their plane-spotting hobby while admitting their guilt.

The court had examined the Britons in in-camera proceedings to ascertain the voluntariness of the confessions.

The duo, employed with Railways in UK, used to watch and photograph aircraft and airports. They had also installed a virtual radar to know the details of planes.