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Drones can be ‘danger to the public’, say UK police after airport scare

Authorities are quickly savvying up to the threat of drones, including UK police.

Hampshire Police have issued a warning after a drone flew too close to an airplane in Southampton.

The Constabulary says anyone getting “a personal drone this Christmas” should be aware of safety regulations.

The warning notes a recent incident where a drone came “to within a wings’ length of two aircraft that were landing” at Southampton International Airport.

Local police say they have received 46 reports of drone incidents since January 1 this year – that’s in Hampshire alone.

The reports included drones being found in people’s gardens, and one quadcopter that hit the roof of a house “causing damage”.

“The skill level of some recreational users is low; they have purchased their drone on the internet without guidance from suppliers or enthusiast groups, they have limited previous flying experience and unaware of the safety guidelines or regulations,” says PC Andy Sparshott, Hampshire & Thames Valley Police Drone Advisor.

“It may not be their intention to cause a danger to the public whilst flying in congested areas or aviation when flying from parks near to airports,” Sparshott continues. “This lack of knowledge and increasing number of drones purchased has resulted with increased numbers of incidents being reported to the police.”

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Related: DJI Phantom Professional 3 drone review

The Civil Aviation Authority currently regulates drone safety through the Air Navigation order 2009.

But there’s no law that mandates owners of consumer UAVs to actually read the regulations.

As such, Hampshire Police urge drone users to get a handle on where they can and can’t fly drones.

“Our message is not that drones are dangerous or that we are spoiling someone’s Christmas present enjoyment,” explains Sparshott. “But increased awareness by everyone is an essential part to preventing incidents before they happen.”

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