Government ‘Can Now Deploy Drone Detection Systems Throughout The UK’

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Ministers say unidentified systems have been readied to prevent further chaos of the kind that struck Gatwick last week

The government has said it now has detection systems that can be deployed throughout the country to combat the threat of drones.

Gatwick faced three days of disruption last week after drones were repeatedly sighted at the airport’s sole runway.

Flights were only able to recommence on Friday after the Army deployed anti-drone technology whose exact nature has not been disclosed.

The airport said it has spent £5m since last Wednesday, when the disruption began, on technology to prevent further attacks of a similar kind.

‘No easy solutions’

Security minister Ben Wallace said there were no “easy solutions” to the challenges posed by the “huge proliferation” of drones, but said detection systems were now available.

“The huge proliferation of such devices, coupled with the challenges of deploying military counter measures into a civilian environment, means there are no easy solutions,” Wallace said.

“However, I can say that we are able to now deploy detection systems throughout the UK to combat this threat.”

He said those who used drones “recklessly or for criminal purposes” would be given “the most severe sentence”.

Wallace did not provide information on the nature of the systems or how quickly they could be deployed.

Australia said on Monday it would deploy drone-detection sensors at airports from next month following the disruption at Gatwick, which affected  some 140,000 passengers.

Reward

Police detained and then released a Sussex couple without charges over the incident, which disrupted about 1,000 flights over the course of 36 hours.

Sussex Police have also said they are carrying out a forensic examination on a damaged drone picked up at the perimeter of the airport near Horley over the weekend.

Gatwick is offering a £50,000 reward through the Crimestoppers charity, whose chairman Lord Ashcroft has put up another £10,000.

Following the offering of the reward Crimestoppers said it had been given nearly 30 pieces of useful information that had been passed on to police.

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