NEIGHBOURS welcomed home plane spotter Mick Keane from a Greek prison in time for Christmas but criticised his £9,000 bail as "unfair."

Mr Keane, 57, of Burnham Road was one of 12 British people arrested more than a month ago, on suspicion of spying, after he allegedly took photographs inside a military base near the south eastern town of Kalamata, in Greece.

He was reunited on Saturday at Luton airport with his wife, Sue Keane, after paying the substantial bail money set by a Greek judge.

Mrs Keane told the News Shopper: "The government is not helping with the £9,000 bail. They can't because it's not a civil matter. We also face legal costs of £3,000 to £4,000."

Family friend Sue Naylor, 43, who lives next door to Mr Keane's sister, Jennifer Loveless, in Downbank Avenue, Dartford, said: "I don't think there should be any bail, it's unfair, they should just be released for free."

The group is due back in Greece in the new year on charges of collecting illegal information, after three judges dismissed claims of espionage put forward by Greek public prosecutors.

She added: "It's silly they're going to be prosecuted... They were just plane spotting, there's no harm in it."

Other friends said Mrs Loveless had been concerned for the welfare of her brother, holed up in a communal cell.

Neighbour Carol Hicks, 57, also of Downbank Avenue, said: "She has been worried for her brother all month. I am pleased for her sake and the family that he's coming home for Christmas.

"Greece have got their laws, we've got ours, but they should have been a bit more tactful. It's been blown out of all proportion."

Mr Keane, who has travelled the world plane spotting, had been on a holiday organised by Suffolk based firm Touchdown Tours. He now plans to clear his name at the re-trial.