A man has been summoned to Westminster Magistrates’ Court after illegally flying drones over famous London landmarks and football stadiums across the country. The Met Police released a statement on Wednesday, listing 17 offences under the Air Navigation Order 2009.
Nigel Wilson, 42, from Nottingham, is accused of flying drones illegally from September to December last year. He has been summoned to appear on April 16 — almost exactly a year after the country’s first conviction for the illegal use of an unmanned aerial vehicle. Some of the football stadiums include Anfield, where Liverpool play, Nottingham Forest Stadium, and the Emirates, home to Arsenal. On a number of occasions, police say Wilson flew a drone while football matches were going on.
The Met reports that Wilson flew drones over the Houses of Parliament, the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s London residence, the Palace of Westminster, and at North Bank on the River Thames.
The law requires members of the public to gain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority when flying drones in commercial areas. For a serious breach, magistrates courts can impose a £2,500 fine for illegal usage.
In relation to one of the charges involving a football stadium, police say Wilson “flew a small unmanned surveillance aircraft over a congested area, during a football match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC without a permission issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.”
The Met also says: “(Wilson) did not maintain direct, unaided visual contact with a small unmanned surveillance aircraft to monitor its flight path in relation to persons and structures.”
More and more people are beginning to use drones, and because it’s such a new pastime, many appear unaware of the rules and regulations in place. There is currently a Lords Select Committee report looking into the civil use of drones in the EU.
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