Sailor is still being held in Indian jail

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Confusion remains over the fate of a pirate hunter from Ashington who has been detained in an Indian prison for more than two months.

Family and friends of Nick Dunn had been hoping he would be home for Christmas after he was one of 35 crewmen arrested by the Indian authorities on October 12.

But their hopes were dashed a week before Christmas after being told the group, which includes six Britains, had been denied bail.

However, his sister Lisa received an email on Boxing Day saying the men had been granted bail and measures were being put in place for them to be put up in a hotel.

But in a cruel u-turn, Nick’s family received an email on Saturday to say that his release had been blocked, potentially by the Indian government.

Lisa said: “We’re absolutely devastated.

“I got an email on Boxing Day saying the guys had been given bail. We were so excited. We thought this is it, we’re going to get them home.

“But then on Saturday I got an email to say the Indian government had stepped in and said they didn’t want the men to get bail as they thought they would flee the country.

“We’ve gone from absolute elation to absolute devastation. We just don’t know what is going on.”

She added: “It’s just a case of waiting day by day, trying to get information from the Foreign Office. Every passing day it’s getting harder and harder.

“It’s like they have dangled a carrot in front of them. Yes you can have bail and to take it away again is absolutely disgusting.”

Nick, 27, was working for AdvanFort, a maritime security company whose headquarters are in the United States, helping to protect vessels from pirates.

The crew were on board the MV Seaman Guard Ohio when it was called into port Tuticorin in the southern Tamil Nadu state and accused of illegally possessing weapons.

And Nick, a former British Army soldier, has been detained in a cramped cell at Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai ever since.

Lisa added: “The lawyers and company are trying their best without success.

“I’ve spoken on a daily basis to Ian Lavery and the support he has given is fantastic. We just need the whole government to get involved now.”

An online petition created by the girlfriend of one of the other captives, calling on the government to help get the men released, has received more than 36,000 signatures.