Solihull George Cross hero Matt Croucher held in Dubai accused of spying

Matt Croucher with the George Cross he received for his work in Afghanistan
-Credit: (Image: PA)

A George Cross hero honoured for his service in Afghanistan has reportedly been detained in Dubai on accusations of spying. Matt Croucher, 40, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in November and had his passport seized.

The former Royal Marine, from Solihull, is also an Iraq veteran and won Britain's highest honour for bravery for throwing himself on an exploding grenade to save his comrades in 2008. According to The Times, UAE authorities charged him with intentionally and illegally accessing a telecommunications network in November, and he was prevented from leaving the country.

No further details about his arrest were known. Now working as a security consultant, he was forced to sleep on the floor of an overcrowded prison, surviving on a diet of chicken and rice, his family told the newspaper.

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His relatives said they had been kept in the dark about his imprisonment, causing them "immense stress", and said the allegations were "fabricated and absurd", reports the Mirror. They said in a statement: "We don't understand why it's taking the Dubai authorities so long to process this case, a case we believe to be fabricated and absurd."

Dubai officials reportedly obtained a warrant for his accommodation in the UAE, seizing an electronic device. The device was used for security penetration testing as part of his day job, a friend revealed.

Matt, pictured being presented with the Royal Jubilee Medal by King Charles
The Prince of Wales presents the Royal Jubilee Medal to Lance Corporal Matt Croucher during a reception for the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association. -Credit:PA Wire/Press Association Images

After being detained in jail for four days, he was subsequently released but put under ongoing investigation, with his passport and access to his bank account seized. Mr Croucher was reportedly returning home from work commitments in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in October and stopped in Dubai to catch up with friends at the time of his arrest.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office responded: "We are supporting a British man in the UAE and are in contact with the local authorities".