DESPERATE attempts to free an Army sniper turned sausage maker imprisoned in India are continuing.
Ray Tindall, from Newton, Chester, an award-winning sausage maker, is part of a crew of an anti-pirate patrol vessel imprisoned in the city of Chennai since October.
The 38-year-old was one of six British ex-soldiers on the US-owned vessel, involved in supporting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
Since their arrest, for allegedly carrying weapons illegally and straying into Indian waters, they have been languishing in jail – and politicians at the highest level have been involved in the debate.
Mr Tindall had previously worked at the Clive Swan Farm Shop, Treuddyn for about three months, but had since established his own business in Chester.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “I know ho w important this issue is and I raised it personally with Indian Government Ministers when I was in India recently.
“I have discussed it with the Foreign Secretary and I shall go on making sure that we do everything we can. If a meeting needs to be arranged between Members of the House of Commons representing their constituents – I believe that one is a constituent of the Foreign Secretary himself – I am happy to arrange that.”
About 89,000 people have signed a petition calling on Foreign Secretary William Hague to help free the six British ex-soldiers, whose vessel was helping protect commercial shipping which can be vulnerable to hijackers in pirate-infested waters.
A spokesman for Chester MP Steven Mosley’s office said: “It has been raised with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and they have both raised it with the counterparts in India and the difficulty is what they’ve been told is that the judicial responsibility is down to individual states.
“What we have been told is the Minister of Interior officers in India have been in frequent contact with the state [in Chennai].”
The spokesman said Mr Mosley had met with representatives from the Indian High Commission – as well as Minister of State for the Foreign Office Hugo Swire about the issue – but said it was a complex situation.
The vessel, MV Seaman Guard Ohio, operated by US maritime security firm AdvanFort, was intercepted by a heavily armed Indian coastguard vessel when heading to Egypt.
Mr Tindall, who lives in Newton with his wife Faith and young daughter Lyra, established Faraly’s Fine Produce after calling time on his 17-year career with the Army, during which he served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
Speaking previously, Mr Mosley said: “The British Consul is regularly meeting Ray and his colleagues and is doing all it can to look after their best interests. I will continue to monitor this case closely and hope for Ray’s safe return home soon.”
You can visit change.org to sign the petition