Bournemouth police pocket seven drones in banned airshow space

Police officers in England’s south coast city of Bournemouth confiscated at least seven drones operating illegally within the no-fly zone established during a multi-day airshow that wrapped up yesterday.

Dorset Police had previously warned it would take serious steps against any drones identified in the offshore no-fly zone designated for the Bournemouth Air Festival. Those initially unconvincing rumblings produced swift action. On the first day of aerial performances above Poole Bay, officers impounded three UAVs pilots operating craft illegally, and another four during the following session on Friday.

The local police were sufficiently proud of their work ridding the skies off Bournemouth of drones – from sea level to 5,500 high – they even posted video of their initial intervention Thursday to their Twitter account

“Here is the moment we found a pilot illegally flying a drone at @BmthAirFest,” the tweet said.

“Yesterday officers dealt with 3 drones in the restricted airspace – these were seized and the pilots face possible prosecution – please don’t risk it and put display pilots in danger.”

Dorset Police did not provide details on assets used to spot banned drone activity during the four-day Bournemouth Air Festival, but it appeared to rely on what is becoming common detect and identify counter-UAV platforms deployed at large events. 

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Final localization of pilots flying illegally factored in some manual activity, however, with beachside Bobbies apparently zeroing in on remote controllers on foot until they made visual contact with the suspect on the spectator-clogged sand.

“We utilize the latest technology to detect, track, and identify drones in the restricted airspace to minimize any incidents or delays to the flying display,” superintendent Wayne Nock, silver commander for the Bournemouth Air Festival, told the Bournemouth Daily Echo of the anti-drone operation. “If we identify any breach of the airspace, we will liaise with the flying director and take positive action.” 

The police action hailed on social media during the first two sessions of aerial performances seemed to send the intended message, with no further drone sightings reported in Bournemouth over the weekend. 

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