AN Accrington-born former soldier sentenced to jail in Turkey after fighting the Islamic State terror group has skipped bail and returned to Britain.

Joe Robinson was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after being accused of fighting alongside the People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG) - which the Ankara government considers a terrorist organisation.

The 25-year-old was arrested during a family holiday at the Turkish resort of Didim with fiancee Mira Rojkan last year. He spent four months in prison before his conviction.

He had been on bail awaiting an appeal, but has revealed to the BBC that he has returned to Britain secretly without court permission.

Mr Robinson told the broadcaster he was forced to make ‘the hard decision to take the matter into my own hands’.

The YPG is not banned in the UK and he claims he only spent a month with them in Syria while providing medical support to civilians.

Turkey considers the YPG to be a terror organisation because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which fights for autonomy for the region.

Mr Robinson says he was unaware of their ideology when he spent July 2015 with them during which he did not see any fighting.

He told the BBC: “In Syria I managed to help civilians, and save lives. That I believe, is no act of terrorism.”

Miss Rojkan has said it was only in the following three months in Iraq that he fought IS with the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurdish military.

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: “I am pleased and relieved for him. This case shows how complicated and tangled Middle-Eastern politics is. “

The Foreign Office has declined to comment.