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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Britons jailed over Greek brawl
A beach on the Greek island of Crete
Violence by Britons is said to have increased in Crete this year
Ten British men have been sentenced to 10 months in jail after they were found guilty of disturbing the peace following a fight in Crete last month.

The men were arrested on 22 July after a brawl involving 50 Britons at a medical centre on the Greek island.

None of the men - who had been bailed and are back in the UK - appeared at Monday's hearing and were not legally represented, the Foreign Office said.

They can now appeal within 10 days of the verdict.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "If they do not appeal, they can serve the sentence in Greece or pay it off as a fine.

"The fine amount would be decided when it goes to appeal."

The 10, who were sentenced on Monday, are aged from 18 to 29 and are from London, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, the FCO confirmed.

A 20-year-old British woman, from Manchester, who had been due to appear alongside the men in connection with a "separate incident" was found not guilty of damaging a police vehicle.

'Big punch-up'

After the fight, a medic who attended the scene told the media it had been "pretty nasty", while the Foreign Office described it as "quite a big punch-up".

The group of 50 people smashed equipment and broke windows as they charged through a local hospital looking for four patients stabbed earlier, according to the Sun newspaper.

The paper said trouble started after groups of men began to argue following insults about their girlfriends.

George Speis, who works for Cretan Medicare, said the group arrived at the medical centre after a man had been taken there with a wound from a bottle.

He said: "It was like a riot. It was pretty nasty. It was unacceptable.

"The police tried to disperse them. They were threatening so one policeman drew a sub-machinegun and they got scared and disappeared.

"This year, in the last two weeks, the British have become extremely aggressive, which has not happened before.

"This is the worst year in regard to violence with British people. I'm worried someone might get killed."

Country profile: Greece
24 May 06 |  Country profiles
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14 Jul 06 |  Cornwall
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