The latest killer application for drone use seems to be in marijuana reconnaissance,reports ITPortal.
Criminal gangs in the UK’s rural Shropshire County are reportedly using flying robots equipped with infrared cameras to spot hidden marijuana growing operations from the sky, then blackmailing the growers or downright stealing their crop from the house.
In the past, law enforcement has similarly used abnormal infrared heat signatures as a means of prosecuting marijuana cultivators, but these means are being used to a different end by criminal elements in search of drugs or money.
One of these fly-by-night marijuana thieves spoke to a local paper about what he does: “[Pot farms] are fair game. It is not like I’m using my drone to see if people have nice televisions. I am just after drugs to steal and sell. If you break the law then you enter me and my drone’s world.”
Drones are only getting more affordable and their use more widespread. The Pocket Drone, a Kickstarter project that successfully raised nearly a million dollars to bring small, affordable drones to the market, offers customers almost everything they need to get flying for $US446.
Tom Watson, Shropshire area MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, said, “It is no surprise enterprising criminals would want to get the upper hand in the criminal underworld by using drones.