UK gets first drone conviction after flights over football stadiums

The man flew his drone over soccer stadiums on match days and over London landmarks

Anfield Stadium in Liverpool as seen from a drone confiscated for illegal flight. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Anfield Stadium in Liverpool as seen from a drone confiscated for illegal flight. Credit: Metropolitan Police

A U.K. man has been convicted of flying drones illegally over buildings and congested areas, the first conviction of its type in the country.

Nigel Wilson of Nottingham was fined £1,800 (US$2,800) and ordered to pay an additional £600 in costs after pleading guilty to offenses under the U.K.'s Air Navigation Order 2009. He was also banned from purchasing, owning or flying a drone, or assisting anyone else to fly a drone, for the next two years.

Manchester Police arrested Wilson last October after complaints about drone flights over the Etihad Stadium on match days.

Police discovered he had also flown his drone over Anfield stadium in Liverpool during a Champions League match against Bulgaria's Ludogorets FC. During that incident, Wilson is said to have flown the drone so close to mounted police that it startled their horses. He later posted the footage to YouTube, according to the police.

Further flights were discovered over the iPro Stadium in Derby, the Emirates Stadium in north London, and near the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the HMS Belfast and the Shard tower in London. Those flights led to his arrest by London's Metropolitan police.

The incidents involved him flying his drone out of his line of sight, within 50 meters of buildings and over congested areas -- all offenses under the law.

The police confiscated a DJI Phantom drone from Wilson as part of the investigation.

Confiscated DJI Drone Metropolitan Police

A DJI Phantom drone confiscated by police as part of the prosecution of a man for illegal drone flights.

Illegal drone flight is becoming a problem in the U.K., U.S. and other countries as popularity of the small craft increase, their cost decreases and new software makes them easier to fly.

In June, police officers confiscated a drone after it was seen flying over the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the Wimbledon tennis tournament, and over the weekend a drone crashed into Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in west Japan.

After the successful prosecution of Wilson, London's Metropolitan Police warned it would prosecute anyone who does not follow drone flight rules.

"Flying drones over congested areas or buildings can pose great risks to public safety and security and Wilson put many people in real danger. Today's outcome should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of doing similar that they could end up in court if they ignore these regulations," Chief Inspector Nick Aldworth, said in a statement.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags drones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?