The jury in the trial of five people accused of causing unlawful damage to a US military plane at Shannon Airport has returned a verdict of not guilty.

The five, ranging in age from mid 20s to mid 40s were charged with causing the damage in February 2003.

After deliberating for more than three hours, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty for each of the ten counts.

The five, 46-year-old Ciaran O’Reilly, 36-year-old Deirdre Clancy, 35-year-old Karan Ballon, 34-year-old Nuin Dunlop and 26-year-old Damian Moran wept in court as the verdict was returned. 

A spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Dublin said that the embassy was 'very disappointed' with the verdict and would be discussing the implications of the case with the Irish Government officials once it had more information.