TERRORISTS will weaponise drones to launch a terrifying new type of attack against civilian targets in the West, a top security consultancy has predicted.

Flying the remote controlled machines is popular with hobbyists and ariel photographers, but the readily available gadgets can also be fitted to drop explosives or acid, according to experts from geopolitics intelligence firm Stratfor.

Scott Stewart, the company’s vice president of tactical analysis, warned a drone-based attack was “one of the terrorist trends” developing this year.

During an online briefing on the potential security threats faced in 2018, he said large, outdoor events would be the most likely target.

He said: “Those are exactly the types of targets we think we are going to see hit in a simple drone attack, using an improvised explosive device or acid or something else.

“We believe we’re going to see some sort of grass-roots militants in the West try to use drones in attacks, outside of the Syria/Iraq-type battlefields.

“It’s going to create a stir, it’s going to create a panic.

“We believe we’re going to see it from militants of any stripe, it doesn’t have to be jihadis.”

And although he acknowledged a weaponised drone is unlikely to be powerful enough to cause “mass casualties”, the ensuing panic at a crowded venue such as a stadium could result in more deaths.

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