DESPERATE loved ones of a Catterick veteran and five other British ex-soldiers jailed in India are lobbying MPs in Westminster in a bit to get them out of a notorious prison.

Nicholas Simpson, 47, of Catterick is a former Sergeant Major in the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and was part of a group jailed on weapons charges while working as ship security guards in the Indian Ocean.

Mr Simpson and his colleagues were arrested after Indian coastguards boarded their vessel, the MV Seaman Guard Ohio, and apprehended them for taking weapons into India's territorial waters in October 2013.

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The five other men are Nick Dunn, 31, of Ashington, Northumberland, John Armstrong, 30, of Cumbria, Billy Irving, 37, of Oban, Scotland, Ray Tindall, 42, of Chester and Paul Towers, 54, originally from Bootle, but living in Pocklington, East Yorkshire.

The charges were initially quashed when the men argued the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and their paperwork, issued by the UK Government, was in order.

But a lower court reinstated the prosecution and they were convicted in January last year and sentenced to five years jail.

Since then there has been a series of appeals as the families navigate the tortuous Indian legal system.

In the meantime the six are facing the looming prospect of another grim Christmas behind bars at Puzhal Prison, the vast penal complex in Chennai, home to 3,000 inmates including murderers and rapists.

Today their families will lobby MPs at Parliament before handing in a petition with 405,000 signatures at 10 Downing Street demanding the Government do more to secure their release.

Theresa May has previously raised the matter on a visit to India and Britain's High Commissioner in India has visited the men in jail but the families say Foreign Office diplomacy is not working.