Norwich drone flies too close to city’s castle

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Media captionIllegal drone flight near Norwich Castle leads to police action

An amateur drone operator who shared footage of an illegal city centre flight on social media has been “given words of advice” by police.

The video showed the drone was flying too close to Norwich Castle – breaking Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.

The material was shared in a Facebook group with more than 30,000 members.

Norfolk Police said it was the first time concern over a drone flight has been reported to them after it had been seen on social media.

Image copyright CAA
Image caption People flying drones for fun should operate no closer than 150m (500ft) from any area which is substantially used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes

“After being made aware of this illegal flight in Norwich, officers investigated and identified the operator who has since been spoken to,” PC Thomas Munday said.

“Due to the circumstances, we judged no formal action was required.”

New legislation to be introduced on 30 November will require operators to register if their drone weighs more than 250g (9oz) and up to 20kg (44lbs).

Drone pilots, wishing to fly outdoors, will need to pass an online competency test – to be renewed every three years.

“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant regulations.” a CAA spokesman said.

The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly safely.”

Image copyright NATS
Image caption Shown in light pink – Norwich Castle sits within controlled airspace and no drone flying should happen here without Norwich Air Traffic Control being aware

Elliott Corke, from Norwich-based Drone Training Ltd, has been instructing people on how to fly drones safely and commercially for seven years.

“People without a CAA permission shouldn’t be flying near commercial or residential areas,” he said.

“The rules are there to protect the public and other air users, so enforcement is important alongside education.

“We can only hope people will report flights they feel are inappropriate and the police will continue to act on those concerns.”

It is against the law to fly a drone above 400ft (120m) or near an airport boundary.

If a drone recklessly or negligently endangers an aircraft it is a criminal offence and the operator could go to prison for up to five years.

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