Incidents involving drones on the increase in South Yorkshire

A rise in incidents involving drones has been recorded in South Yorkshire
A rise in incidents involving drones has been recorded in South Yorkshire

The number of incidents involving drones reported to South Yorkshire Police is increasing, new figures reveal.

Last year there were 62 drone related incidents reported to the force, compared to 14 in 2015 and 11 in 2014.

The flying gadgets are at the centre of thousands of episodes registered by forces, including rows between neighbours, prison smuggling, burglary scoping exercises, mid-air near misses and snooping fears.

Last year, forces recorded 3,456 incidents, equivalent to nearly 10 every day.

It was almost triple the 2015 figure of 1,237 and more than 12 times the 2014 tally of 283 but is likely to be higher as not all police forces provided figures.

Available for as little as £30 and often boasting built-in cameras, sales of the gadgets have risen sharply in recent years.

Professor David Dunn, of Birmingham University, said people face a 'major challenge' in maintaining their privacy at home because of the popularity of drones.

He said: "Previously you had a hedge, you had a wall and you could do whatever you wanted in your garden without people disturbing you. That has changed because of drones.

"It's true for celebrities. It's true for everyone.

"Anecdotally I've heard that burglars using drones is a big issue for police forces.

"People are using them to fly behind properties to see if the lights are on, to see what sort of French windows they have or whether there are windows open."

Drone users must follow restrictions on flying them near crowds, people and built-up areas.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for drones, said: "As awareness of what drones are and what they can do continues to grow, police forces have seen increases in concerns and reports by the public.

"We have to balance the growth of this technology by ensuring that the public are aware of the strong regulatory framework and detailed user guidance that is available relating to drone use."

Ministers are considering a number of additional safety measures, including mandatory registration of new drones.