Scotland

Power firm issues drone safety warning

drone being taken from Christmas tree Image copyright PA
Image caption The note of caution was issued after a rise in popularity of drones and quadcopters

Remote control aircraft and drone pilots are being warned to steer clear of power lines or electricity substations.

The warning follows a rise in the popularity of drones and model helicopters as Christmas gifts.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) said the aircraft could cause power cuts if they crashed into equipment.

SHEPD also warned that damaged drones could injure pilots on the ground.

Pilots could also be killed attempting to retrieve the toys from substation enclosures, it added.

The Civil Aviation Authority warns that drones should not be flown within 150m of a built-up area.

SHEPD head of operations Rodney Grubb said: "The model planes and drones that are on the market nowadays are really powerful and can fly really fast and high.

"If one of them strikes a power line or crashes into a substation, it can potentially damage an important piece of equipment and cause a power cut, or even serious injury to the pilot.

"If you've been given a drone or a model helicopter for Christmas, we want you to enjoy it in a safe environment where there is no risk of hitting power lines or substations."

If a model aircraft or drone does fall into a substation, SHEPD is urging people not to go in after it "no matter how expensive it is".

The electricity network operator wants people to contact its emergency service centre instead.

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