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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Deportation row man returns home
Sakchai Makao outside the hearing
Makao won his appeal against deportation on Friday
A young Thai man who had been facing deportation from Shetland has returned to the island after winning his appeal.

Sakchai Makao, 23, faced deportation as a foreign national with a criminal record, sparking a major campaign to try and prevent the move.

Makao, who has lived on Shetland since he was 10, won his appeal in Tyneside on Friday and arrived back at Sumburgh airport on Saturday to a warm welcome.

He spent eight months in jail two years ago for fire-raising.

'Over the moon'

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard a mobile building and car were destroyed by fire when he was drunk in "two moments of madness" in 2002.

The tribunal hearing heard the fire-raising was committed when his step father had just died from cancer and a baby he had with his girlfriend had passed away only a few hours after birth.

After winning his appeal against deportation, Makao told the BBC Scotland news website: "It's unbelievable, I am over the moon. I am so proud of the Shetland community."

He refused to blame the government for his ordeal, which followed its reaction to the release of foreign prisoners.

Makao moved to Shetland with his mother, sister and stepfather in 1993 and he has not been back to Thailand since.

Sakchai Makao's reaction to winning his appeal

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