Burglars used drone to identify target property, police reveal

Police urge flyers to exercise caution when flying drones - they should not be used in crowded place

Police urge flyers to exercise caution when flying drones - they should not be used in crowded places, near airports or close to structures - Credit: Archant

People have been warned to use “common sense” when flying drones after police investigated more than a dozen reports concerning the devices in Suffolk in the last 18 months.

Drones can be used to record stills or video footage

Drones can be used to record stills or video footage - Credit: Archant

A total of 16 incidents involving the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, were reported to Suffolk Constabulary between January last year and the end of March this year.

Of these, police charged one person for violence against the person in January this year. It came after police investigated a report of a drone flying, followed by an altercation with the its owner.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: “People using drones should apply common sense when thinking about where to fly their devices.

“It is clearly irresponsible to fly any kind of unmanned aircraft close to an airport or in a town centre, for example.

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Users should take a good look around at their environment before each and every flight.

“If any potential exists for conflict with other aircraft, people, vehicles or buildings, then try somewhere else. Drones are subject to aviation rules and regulations and anyone breaching those rules can be prosecuted.”

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Remote-controlled drones can record video and still images.

Police were called to investigate 10 reports of a drone seen flying, while in another incident, a drone was alleged to have been used to identify a property for a burglary.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said:

“The use of drones is covered by legislation within the Air Navigation Order 2009.

“Responsibility for investigation and enforcement of breaches of that legislation rests with the CAA, assisted where appropriate by local police forces.”

CAA rules for small unmanned aircraft state an unmanned aircraft must never be flown beyond the normal unaided ‘line of sight’ of the person operating it.

This is generally measured as 500m horizontally or 400ft vertically.

An unmanned aircraft must always be flown at least 50m distance away from a person, vehicle, building or structure.

An unmanned aircraft must also not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert.

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