Gatwick Drone Sightings May Ha...


Gatwick Drone Sightings May Have Been Police Equipment

Brendan O'Loughlin
Brendan O'Loughlin

01:46 29 Dec 2018

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British police have admitted that some of the drones spotted near Gatwick Airport during major pre-Christmas disruption may have belonged to... themselves.

The travel plans of more than 140,000 people were thrown into chaos, and the busy London airport was forced to close for 36 hours across the 19th and 20th December when a number of people reported seeing a drone flying near the runway.

At the time, Police dismissed it as terrorism but called it "a deliberate act of disruption", which they said was being caused by at least one industrial-grade drone.

Speaking to the BBC, Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York apologised to two people who were held in custody on suspicion of involvement in the disruption.

He said he was "really sorry" for the pair who said they felt "violated", but insisted the grounds on which police arrested them was “well-founded”.

Police have now ruled two drones discovered near the airport out of their investigations.

"I don't think we have found the drone responsible for this at this time,” said chief Constable Giles.

Police previously said it was "possible" there was no drone at all - though they later backtracked.

Chief Constable York said he was "absolutely certain that there was a drone flying throughout the period that the airport was closed."

However he admitted that some of the sightings may been of the police’s own machines that were searching for the offending device.

"Of course, we will have launched our own Sussex Police drones at the time with a view to investigate, with a view to engage, with a view to survey the area looking for the drone, so there could be some level of confusion there," he said.

Gatwick Airport is offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the disruption.

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