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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 09:46 GMT
Five Britons held in Saudi jail
Saudi map
Five British men have been arrested on suspicion of alcohol-related offences in Saudi Arabia.

The men have been held in prison since the beginning of December and British officials have been denied access to two of them, according to a Foreign Office spokeswoman.

It is not known whether the arrests relate to the production, supply or trade of alcohol, which is banned in Saudi under Islamic law.

No formal charges have been made and Saudi police are still investigating.

Access denied

The five arrested men were named as Ron Yates, Paul Moss, Ken Hartley, David Mornin and Kelvin Hawkins, and were all being held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Mr Mornin, originally from Greenock in Scotland, has lived in Saudi Arabia for the past 16 years.

His daughter, Julie Mornin, from Greenock, said on Monday: "I haven't seen him since he left the country.

"The first I heard about it was when a newspaper contacted me.

"All I want is my husband home as soon as possible and the more fuss there is, the worse it will be for him.

Jean Yates, wife of one of the arrested
"Sixteen years is a long time and to be honest, I haven't heard anything about what's actually happening."

At Mr Yates' home in Bolton, Lancashire, his wife Jean said she had no idea why her husband was being held but she wanted him home as soon as possible.

"I'm not very forthcoming with information because I don't have any.

"It's a closed country and I am just trying not to antagonise them.

"All I want is my husband home as soon as possible and the more fuss there is, the worse it will be for him.

"Hopefully he will be home soon, but we'll just have to wait and see. It's out of my hands."

Riyadh city centre
British citizens have been killed and injured in Riyadh bombings
British officials have been allowed to see Mr Yates, Mr Mornin and Mr Hawkins and have asked for access to the other two.

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said consular officials had seen the men who said "they were well and were being treated well".

Officials have been told they can see Mr Moss and Mr Hartley after 6 January, when a Saudi public holiday ends.

The Foreign Office says they are pressing for earlier access.

Two of the men were arrested on 1 December and two a week later on 8 December.

Mr Yates was understood to have been detained earlier and is not being investigated as part of the same group.

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