London: Posing a new threat to home security, burglars in the UK are going high-tech by deploying drones to explore properties from the air and identify the weak spots in houses.
Unmanned drones are being piloted over private homes by burglars in a bid to identify potential targets, police have confirmed.
Detectives fear the mini-helicopters, which can be bought for as little as 30 pounds, are being deployed to take surveillance photographs from above, posing a brand new threat to home security.
Suffolk Constabulary confirmed it had received at least one report of drones being used by burglars to "case" properties, The Telegraph reported.
The drones are highly-manoeuvrable and - depending on the model - can carry advanced, high definition cameras which can capture video and still images.
It is feared that because the technology allows thieves to explore properties from the air they will be used to identify security weak spots, such as older-style patio or French doors which can be easily forced.
Due to their abilities to get close-in to potential targets, drones are thought to present an even greater threat than websites such as Google's Street View and Google Earth services, which have previously been accused of assisting thieves with satellite and kerb-side images of properties.
Larger homes with substantial grounds may be the most likely target for thieves using drones, the report said.
Piloting them over perimeter walls will allow criminals to carry out low-risk reconnaissance around homes which cannot be seen from the public road, it said.
Paul Ford, secretary of the Police Federation National Detectives Forum, was quoted as saying: "Drones can be noisy and very visible so hopefully criminals risk giving themselves away."
"If members of the public observe drones being used in areas which make them suspicious they should contact police using the 101 non-emergency number to report it," he said.
"We must remain alive to the potential risks posed by the misuse of technology, but at the end of the day this is a reminder to householders to make sure their homes are secure, and to consider any extra security measures they may need such as a burglar alarm," he added.
The Suffolk force confirmed it had investigated an incident where a drone was "used to identify a property for a burglary".