A British couple have told how they were treated as common criminals after a mix up with their visa saw them arrested for being in the country illegally.

Barbara Dixon and Richard Cross told the Daily Mail about their ordeal, which allegedly saw them detained in squalid conditions in a high security detention camp in El Paso.

The couple had spent three months visiting family in the US before travelling to Canada for a short trip and then returning. They assumed their 90-day visa waiver would automatically renew when they returned to the US but after three months, in March, they were arrested and their vehicle impounded by armed police on suspicion of being ‘illegal aliens’.

The couple, who live in Inverness, were eventually deported back to the UK in April and say they plan to file a complaint about their treatment with the UK Foreign Office. Dixon told the Daily Mail: “We were classed as illegal aliens because we had stayed over the initial 90 days. They wouldn’t accept that it was a simple mistake.

“We tried to tell them we had booked return flights home, proving we weren’t planning on staying, but they wouldn’t listen. For someone who has never done anything wrong to suddenly be treated like a criminal was horrific. I felt as though the world was caving in on us.”