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Drone nabbed by police for flying over Wimbledon


Andy Murray Wimbledon drone

A drone that was found circling above the All England Lawn Tennis Club has been seized by London police.

That’s no ordinary tennis club, mind – it’s the home to this week’s Wimbledon international tennis tournament.

There’s nothing yet that suggests the drone was up to no good, although the police say “enquiries continue” into the matter.

The drone was spotted sneaking a bird’s eye view of the courts at 8:37am on Saturday, June 27.

It’s reported that a number of tennis stars were on site at the time, included Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova.

London’s finest soon tracked the drone’s pilot down to a nearby golf course, and confiscated the unmanned aerial vehicle on the spot.

Related: 11 jawdropping videos that will make you want a drone

“It is an offence to fly a drone within 50 metres of a structure,” explained Inspector Roger Robinson, of Merton police. “Anyone intending to fly a drone should give prior consideration to the surrounding landscape and any structures or venues.”

He added: “While it is not our intention to prevent people from enjoying the use of drones, it is important that regulations are adhered to. Police will take positive action against anyone committing an offence.”

It’s already an offence to fly drones in London’s eight Royal Parks, so this is just one more example of how easy it is for drone enthusiasts to get into the authorities’ bad books.

If this latest drone fiasco has given you a hankering for some unmanned aerial action, check out our guide to the future of drones in the UK.


June 29, 2015, 6:27 pm

I can imagine drones stunts like these will start appearing on youtube another dangerous senseless stupid craze. We cant even control car drivers how we going to control drone flying muppets!


June 29, 2015, 7:25 pm

What was the reason for not accepting my initial comment, would really like to know??


June 29, 2015, 11:39 pm

Drones should be banned... It's such a high security risk. Imagine if drones had weapsons or even a bomb.

They won't do anything until something major happens but then it's too late!


June 30, 2015, 11:07 am

If someone was going to put 'weapons or a bomb' on a drone I don't think banning them would discourage them! The small DJI Phantoms have a 1.2kg lift capability but the bigger versions can carry up to 10KG. Banning things like this isn't the solution.


June 30, 2015, 1:39 pm

Was it about how much your Aunt makes working from home 3 days per week? ;)


June 30, 2015, 5:10 pm

Hehehe...No it was my aunt flying the drone!..^^


June 30, 2015, 5:11 pm

I agree completely.


June 30, 2015, 5:11 pm

So what is your solution?


June 30, 2015, 6:37 pm

I work with teams of professionals who use the much bigger octacopter drones costing ~£20K once all the kit is accounted for. They have to be fully trained and certified by various aviation authorities and keep this updated. You're supposed submit intended use and flight plans, avoid highly populated areas etc to the relevant authorities along with all your paperwork. Maybe a much reduced self-registration system might help with the 'hobby' drones.

The smaller hobby drones are currently lacking regulation, but it's pretty obvious that they shouldn't be flown over populated areas, aircraft corridors or areas of military or political sensitivity. People should be given designated areas in large parks to play, they are not like fixed wing models or incredibly difficult to fly helicopters; they require less room to manoeuvre and have a few safety features to generally prevent them from dropping out of the sky. (although it can happen!)

If you registered your drone online and a serial sticker was supplied to the owner at low cost, the drone and the owner would be linked. People flying unregistered drones (in public places) get them confiscated. Flying over private land should be fully legal so long as you don't drift into other people's land or cause a public nuisance by trying to film private property or people within private property. Apply the same laws that are applied to public photographers now. We are entitled to a reasonable amount of privacy in our lives.

As long as the drone is being flown responsibly with respect for any other people in the area (with or without camera attached) then I don't see a problem. Register the drone and use common sense guidance.

Of course, none of this will prevent the World's mental-cases from trying to screw everything up for everyone, but we can't just blanket ban everything in life that represents a potential threat. That takes the fun out of life. No?

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