One of the six former British soldiers acquitted of weapons charges after being held in an Indian jail for four years has spoken of his relief at being freed in an emotional message to friends and family.

Nick Dunn is one of the so-called Chennai Six who walked free from prison after years of appeals. They were arrested in 2013 while working as security guards on the anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio for AdvanFort.

The six men were accused of illegally entering Indian waters without permission and were found with 35 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition by Indian authorities when they boarded the ship. The men said the weapons were lawfully carried for anti-piracy purposes and that their paperwork, issued by the UK, was in order.

All six, along with 29 others, have now had the charges against them dropped and are expected to return home in the next few days.

Speaking from a hotel room in India, Dunn, from Ashington in Northumberland, recorded a 96-minute Facebook live video to thank all his supporters and campaigners who helped secure his release. Their support was what "what kept me going, every day", he said.

Dunn also spoke of the trauma he suffered while being held at Puzhal prison in Chennai.

He said in the video: "I will probably wake up tomorrow morning with no voice. I've talked for quite a while, but I've been lonely. You have no idea.

"At six o'clock, when that cell door locked and you heard the clack, the bang, the rattle of the keys, it just was like, time for 12 hours until they are open. That feeling, it is unbelievable.

"I never want to hear that sound again."

Elsewhere in the video, Dunn blames his detention on AdvanFort "being absolute idiots".

Unrelenting campaign

He added: "Yes, it was the company's fault ... but the past is the past. I'm thinking of a new life, a new chapter. If I beat myself up every day thinking of the past I'll never be able to move on.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson described the release of the Chennai Six as "fantastic news".

He said: "The FCO has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to reunite these men with their families. The importance the UK government places on their case cannot be overstated.

"The men, their families and their supporters, who have campaigned unrelentingly, must be overjoyed. I share their delight and I hope they can return home as soon as possible."

It is hoped that Dunn, along with Billy Irving from Connel, Argyll, Ray Tindall from Chester, Paul Towers from Pocklington, East Yorkshire, John Armstrong from Wigton, Cumbria and Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, North Yorkshire, will return home in time for Christmas.

Chennai Six
One of the Chennai Six John Armstrong (L) gestures next to colleague Nick Simpson as they leave prison in Chennai Getty