Serious concerns over security have been raised after a drone crashed in a Co Down police station after the pilot lost control, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The aircraft smashed into the PSNI station in Newcastle after it was seen flying above the nearby beach.
The drone pilot was not charged with any offences after the incident in May. But it has prompted concerns over the vulnerability of police stations and other high-security buildings.
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said regulations must be tightened to ensure the aircraft cannot be flown near or over police stations, Army barracks and schools.
"There is a security concern, that people are using these more and more and they are getting smaller and smaller," he added. "There is a challenge to ensure there is regulation on ownership, use and where these drones are being used. There is certainly an issue of security in different areas."
It has also raised concerns among those in the industry. "Unfortunately there is very little education, and members of the public who buy drones are not exposed to clear rules on the law surrounding them," said Andrew McQuillan, of Crowded Space Drones.
"We recommend anyone who is flying to check out the CAA website for information on law surrounding drones."
PSNI superintendent Paul Reid said: "The owner of the drone has been identified and spoken to in relation to this incident.
"In this instance there is no evidence to indicate that there was either the deliberate misuse of drone technology, or the negligent, reckless or malicious use of the technology."