Manchester police's £80,000 'blimp' grounded by weather

Image caption, The "blimp" has been broken up, with some parts sold and others recycled

An £80,000 balloon, called the "Eagle Eye Blimp", has been grounded by Greater Manchester Police - because of the region's weather.

The force bought it 18 months ago for surveillance, but has now decided it is no longer "cost-effective" in the current financial climate.

The white blimp, which had police written in blue on both sides, was used 18 times - about £4,400 per occasion.

"We experienced a number of technical issues," Ch Supt Dave Anthony said.

The force would not disclose which occasions or incidents it had been used for, but said it had had a number of cameras on it which collected information for "surveillance purposes".

It was purchased from Sonic Communications in April 2009. The aircraft could be deployed within 20 to 30 minutes of a call-out and was filled with helium.

However, it has now been broken down, with some parts sold off and others recycled for operational use.

The force would not reveal how much it had been sold for.

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