Britains freed from turkish jail: Lorry drivers held over alleged export fraud to fly home. David Connett reports Britons freed from Turkish jail

THREE British lorry drivers are expected to arrive back in Britain today after being freed from a Turkish jail.

The men were arrested for trying to leave Turkey with a cargo of T-shirts with allegedly false documents as part of an alleged export fraud.

They left for Istanbul yesterday after a court ordered their release from a jail in Edirne, north-west Turkey. They are expected to fly home today.

The Turkish public prosecutor Hayati Onder said there was insufficient evidence to keep them in custody but they would have return to Turkey next month for the next court session.

Graham Quinn, 44, and Tony Quinn, 43, both from Bradford but not related, and Peter Thomas, 46, from Bristol were held following their arrest last November.

Ralph Davies, owner of Cheltenham-based haulage firm for which the three worked, said: 'It's great news and I'm thrilled for their families. They were always 100 per cent innocent.

'It can't have been much of a Christmas for them but now they can come home and celebrate new year.

'Our problem is just beginning though - we need to find a way of getting back pounds 250,000 worth of trucks from Turkey. I don't think that will be easy.'

Mrs Maureen Quinn, wife of Tony, of Bierley, Bradford, was in court to see them freed. She ran from the court to telephone Mrs Jane O'Shea, Mr Thomas's granddaughter.

Mrs O'Shea, of Bedminster, near Bristol, said yesterday: 'We're thrilled to bits by the news. It is brilliant. It has not yet sunk in. We are all so overwhelmed.

'It's what we've all been praying for. When he comes home we're going to have a few drinks and celebrate in style - we can't wait to have him back home. All three of them were in a terrible state and the charges were completely false.

'They should not have been in prison in the first place.

She claimed the Turkish authorities had no right to throw them into prison and described the conditions they were kept in as 'terrible'. 'They were in a tiny freezing cell with mould growing out of the walls. They haven't even been able to change their clothes.'

'It's the best Christmas present we could have wished for. We cannot wait to get them back on British soil.' She said the men were travelling immediately to Istanbul before flying home.

Flight arrangements had not yet been fixed but a family party of about 14 would go to London to meet them.

Graham Quinn's wife had also flown out to Turkey. Mrs Joan Sagar, Mr Quinn's mother-in-law, said: 'We knew they were innocent and it is a tremendous relief. It has all been so unnecessary.

'We knew Graham would never get involved in anything illegal.

'The whole thing has been a nightmare. When they get back we will celebrate a late Christmas and have a great party.'

She added: 'It has been a sad Christmas for all of us.'

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said the men had originally hoped to return from Turkey with a cargo of fruit, but eventually set off with a consignment of T-shirts instead.

They had been detained in the border town of Ipsala by customs police.

At the border their documentation appeared to show more cargo than was in the lorry, which would illegally qualify them for export incentives, he said.

The court also ordered the release of one of three Turks indicted in the case, but said Halil Yildiz, the owner of the trading company, and Ali Celik, a customs official, would remain in custody.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Fatale attraction: Brigitte Bardot in her youth
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?