Man to appear in court after flying drone over landmarks in UK

A 42-year-old man in the UK alleged to have flown a drone over public places, including packed football stadiums and the Houses of Parliament, is set to become the first person to be charged for such an offence.

PTI| Updated: Mar 18, 2015, 20:39 PM IST

London: A 42-year-old man in the UK alleged to have flown a drone over public places, including packed football stadiums and the Houses of Parliament, is set to become the first person to be charged for such an offence.

Nigel Wilson scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on April 16 has been accused of flying the unmanned aircraft over landmarks, including the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace.

The allegations relate to 17 breaches of the Air Navigation Order 2009.

The Metropolitan Police said Wilson had flown a "small, unmanned surveillance aircraft" over a congested area during various football matches without gaining permission from the Civil Aviation Authority.

He is also accused of failing to "maintain direct, unaided visual contact" with the drone in order to monitor its flight path and avoid potential collisions.

Wilson is said to have committed the offences between September and December last year.

"There are clear rules and regulations in place regarding the flying of drones in the UK and it is the responsibility of users to spend time fully understanding what those rules are," a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

In January, police warned that flying unmanned drones over crowds or near landmark buildings was illegal.

They cannot be flown beyond the unaided line of sight of their operator and must not be flown within 50 metres of a building or structure and must be more than 150 metres above gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

The warning was issued amid fears that the new "must have" aerial gadgets was being used to harass and spy on people.