Coventry & Warwickshire

Stratford-upon-Avon man fined over airspace drone flying

Drone with aircraft in background Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police said the drone was flown through restricted airspace and through fog

A man has been fined after admitting flying a drone over an airfield, police said.

Richard Smith, 37, flew the device over restricted airspace at Wellesbourne Airfield, in Warwickshire, as well as over homes and a school.

The drone had been modified to increase its flight distance capabilities, Warwickshire Police said.

Smith, of Alcester Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, admitted 15 offences under the Air Navigation Order 2016.

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He was fined £259, ordered to pay costs of £185 and a £30 victim surcharge at Leamington Spa Magistrates Court on Wednesday. The drone was also seized.


The rules on drones:

  • Regulations state that during flight, drones should always be kept in sight, below 120 metres and away from airports and airfields
  • Drones should also be flown 50 metres away from people and property and 150 metres from crowds and built up areas, which users are also told not to overfly

Police said the offences took place over the course of four drone flights between December 2016 and January 2017.

Officers started investigating after a report of a YouTube video showing drone flights across South Warwickshire.

Warwickshire Police said Smith flew his drone over a mile away from himself where he could not see it.

He also flew it through fog and above the cloud base, as well as within the restricted airspace of Wellesbourne Airfield.

The force said the case was believed to be the first prosecuted by police under the 2016 legislation.

It said previous prosecutions had been carried out under old legislation and led by the Civil Aviation Authority.

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