MEMBERS of a Winchester church have been left stranded in India due to the ban on flights entering the UK.

The 15-strong group from Winchester Family Church and Life Church Southampton are marooned in Delhi after the closure of British airspace due to the volcanic ash cloud.

They are refusing the airline company's demands to go from their hotel to the airport and claim they are being threatened with arrest.

Chris Kilby, one of the leaders of the Life Church, based on The Avenue, contacted by the Daily Echo by mobile phone, said: "At the moment we are in negotiations with the airline company who are refusing to accommodate us. They have dumped us. We are still in the hotel but the airline says we have to be out by 10am tomorrow.

"We have had threats of imprisonment and threats of our passports being taken away. The airline has said if we don't go, the immigration authorities will arrest us, which is just crazy."

Mr Kilby added: "The airport is packed with people, with no food, no water, few toilets. I'm reluctant to take children and elderly people there."

They had been due to catch a flight from Delhi to Heathrow after a visit to Nepal. People in the group range in age from 14 to 60s.

Mr Kilby is a well-known figure in Winchester having been a leader of the Family Church in Middle Brook Street until moving to Southampton about three years ago.