Drones are being used for stalking and vandalizing people’s homes, police forces have revealed, as reported incidents involving the gadgets jumped 40pc in two years.
Freedom of Information requests, filed by Sky News, revealed that across 20 of the 45 UK police forces, there had been more than 2,400 reports of incidents involving drones last year, much higher than the 1,700 reports in 2016.
They included cases where drones were linked to stalking and harassment, as well as to hate crimes. One report, from Gwent in south-east Wales, detailed an incident where a member of the public complained they had been filmed naked by a drone.
In Cambridgeshire, there were reports of drones being used to drop paintballs into people’s gardens, and in Northern Ireland, around 30 cases involved anti-social behaviour.
Under existing laws in the UK, pilots must avoid flying their drones within 50 metres of a person, vessel, vehicle or structure not under the control of the pilot, and any pictures taken with a drone camera are subject to privacy laws.
The findings comes just days after the Home Office unveiled new legislation which would give police new stop and search powers for drone pilots near airports, and would widen existing no-fly zones around runways to 5 kilometres.