Gatwick drone investigation closed by police with no suspect charged

27 September 2019, 08:29 | Updated: 27 September 2019, 08:38

The drone chaos at Gatwick caused problems for thousands of passengers
The drone chaos at Gatwick caused problems for thousands of passengers. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Police investigating the shutdown of Gatwick Airport by drones last December are closing their investigation, without anyone being charged.

The investigation found two drones were flown near the runway during the peak Christmas period, led to the airport being closed for 30 hours, disrupting 1,000 flights and more than 140,000 passengers.

An investigation by Sussex Police focused on 129 sightings of drone activity, 109 of these were from, what police have called, credible witnesses. Detectives ruled out 96 people ‘of interest’.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller, said it was an unprecedented set of circumstance said: “This was a serious and deliberate criminal act designed to endanger airport operations and the safety of the travelling public.”

He added, “This was an unprecedented set of circumstances for all agencies involved at a time when the police and the Government were at the early stages of assessing domestic counter-drone technology.

The senior police officer said specialist equipment from the military and private sector was installed quickly installed to bring the drone menace to “a conclusion” and allow the airport to reopen.

Sussex Police said they have strengthened their capability to respond to and investigate a similar incident in the future.

The policing operation cost £790,000 and used resources from seven UK police forces.

Detectives do not believe the incident to be terror-related and said there was no evidence it was the actions of a campaign group.

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