First UK drone pilot convicted for flying over packed football grounds

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Jamie Rigg
September 15th, 2015
First UK drone pilot convicted for flying over packed football grounds

In what's thought to be the first conviction of its kind in the UK, a Nottingham resident has been prosecuted for drone offences under the Civil Aviation Authority's Air Navigation Order (2009). Nigel Wilson was initially arrested earlier this year, after he was caught flying a drone over Manchester City's Etihad Stadium. It soon came to light that he was a serial rule-breaker, using his drone to film many a footy match at various UK stadia, as well as indulging in some high-flying sight-seeing at various London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace. The Metropolitan Police note that in one particular incident at Liverpool's Anfield ground, his drone spooked the horses of several mounted officers, endangering nearby pedestrians.

Specifically, Wilson disobeyed the Air Navigation Order's requirements that drone pilots not fly in congested areas, keep their craft within direct line of sight, and stay at least 50 metres clear of buildings. Having plead guilty to a total of seven offences, Wilson has been sentenced and ordered to pay a £1,800 fine and £600 in costs. Likely more dejecting for the enthusiast, he's also been slapped with a Criminal Behaviour Order that prevents him from purchasing, owning, flying, or basically having anything to do with drones for the next two years. If only he'd read our handy guide on UK drone laws before he took to the skies, eh?

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