Stockport Times West - - FRONT PAGE - Char­lotte Cox char­ @ccox­men­media

THE PLANESPOT­TERS who have spent eight weeks in pri­son in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are to be re­leased.

Con­rad Clitheroe, 54, Gary Cooper, 45, from Stock­port, and their ex-pat pal Neil Munro, were ec­static to re­ceive the news.

The men were ar­rested on Fe­bru­ary 21, near Fu­jairah Air­port in Dubai while on a planespot­ting trip.

But af­ter months of bat­tling through the courts and en­dur­ing ba­sic con­di­tions be­hind bars, the men and their fam­i­lies can look to the fu­ture.

In­cred­i­bly – de­spite lan­guish­ing in pri­son for two months – no charges have been brought. Fi­nally, Va­lerie will now have her hus­band home – in time for their first wed­ding an­niver­sary on May 9.

She said: “I am ab­so­lutely ec­static. Apart from our wed­ding and the birth of my chil­dren this is the best day of my life.

“I just can’t wait to see him, to hug him, to hold him. How can you hold some­one for that long with no charges? I don’t un­der­stand it but I’m so so glad.”

Con­rad, a Wood­ley dad who suf­fers from a heart con­di­tion, has in­sisted through­out that they did not take any pho­to­graphs – heed­ing warn­ings on planespot­ter fo­rums.

With help from char­ity ‘De­tained in Dubai’, the fam­i­lies of Con­rad and Gary forked out £9,000 for lawyer Naseer Hashem – who fi­nally called with the good news.

A crowd-fund­ing site set up by the men’s work col­leagues has raised more than £5,000.

Va­lerie thanked ev­ery­one who has sup­ported them.

She added: “Es­pe­cially ev­ery­one at Con­rad’s work who have helped raise money.”

Con­rad Clitheroe (left) and Gary Cooper. Pic­tured left are Va­lerie Clitheroe (left) and Lynne Cooper (right) rais­ing a glass to the news their hus­bands are be­ing re­leased from Dubai pri­son

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