Drones safety rules warning after airport near-misses
Police are advising people getting drones for Christmas to be aware of safety regulations after unmanned aircraft were twice flown close to planes landing at a regional airport.
Hampshire Police have received reports of 46 incidents in 2015, including drones being found in people's gardens and one hitting the roof of a house and causing damage.
Pc Andy Sparshott, drone adviser for Hampshire and Thames Valley Police, said of the two separate episodes: "However, even more worrying is that Southampton International Airport reported a drone coming to within a wing's length of two aircraft that were landing at the airport."
He added that a drone had also been used "during an ongoing neighbour dispute where one person flew a drone over their neighbour's garden intentionally to cause annoyance".
Mr Sparshott said anyone using a personal drone should be aware of the regulations and guidelines for their use and also note that some are intended for indoor use only.
He added: "The majority of reported incidents we get are drones flying low over houses or close to people in recreation parks.
"Our message is not that drones are dangerous or that we are spoiling someone's Christmas present enjoyment, but increased awareness by everyone is an essential part to preventing incidents before they happen.
"S o if you see a drone being flown recklessly or think its location may be a risk to the public or aviation then please report it to the police on 101, and if you do get one for Christmas please make sure you're aware of the guidance and regulations regarding flying them."
He added: "Breaches of these regulations may result in prosecution. Officers wouldn't look to criminalise innocent misuse, as education or other out-of-court disposals may be more appropriate, but the risk to safety may have been reckless and prosecution could prove necessary."
The Civil Aviation Authority regulates drone safety through its regulations in the Air Navigation Order 2009 and further information can be obtained at www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=1995&pageid=16842.