Three Brits have been jailed in Somalia after being caught with over $3m in cash earmarked for ransom payments to free two hijacked ships.
Pilot Mathew Brown and security personnel Andrew Oaks and Alex James were sent down for between 10 and 15 years after being busted with the money at a Mogadishu airport, reports say.
According to the Guardian the planes the trio flew in on were regularly used to import ransoms into Africa. But it is the first time a Westerner has been convicted for delivering ransom money to pirates.
Despite the hefty prison time handed down, officials told the newspaper talks are already underway to cut or overturn the sentences.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have impressed upon the transitional federal government to ensure the safety and security of the group while legal options are considered.
“We are in touch with the families and are providing consular assistance.”
The three Brits, along with three other men, were carrying cash to initiate the release of the 17,000-dwt Suez (built 1984) and the 22,400-dwt Yuan Xiang (built 1978). Both have since been set free.