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Gatwick drone turmoil: pair arrested are local, police say

Gatwick drone turmoil: pair arrested are local, police say

A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman are being held on suspicion of disrupting aviation after the drone activity that caused chaos at Gatwick airport.

Police are searching a home in Crawley, around five miles from Gatwick, after it was announced that the pair, who are from the town, had been arrested on suspicion of the “criminal use of drones” and remain in custody.

They face potential charges of disrupting services of civil aviation in a way likely to endanger the safety of people or operations and have been remanded in custody.

Supt James Collis of Sussex police said: “As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick airport, Sussex police made two arrests just after 10pm on Friday.

“Our investigations are still ongoing, and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones by deploying a range of tactics.

“We continue to urge the public, passengers and the wider community around Gatwick to be vigilant and support us by contacting us immediately if they believe they have any information that can help us in bringing those responsible to justice.

“The arrests we have made are a result of our determination to keep the public safe from harm. Every line of inquiry will remain open to us until we are confident that we have mitigated further threats to the safety of passengers.”

Police urged anyone who might have information about the drone operators to report it online or call 101 and quote Operation Trebor. “If you see anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the airport, please dial 999 immediately,” Collis said.

Gatwick airport said on Saturday that it was open but that passengers should expect delays and long queues as airlines worked to clear a backlog of flights.

“Many people will be due to fly today and there will be longer delays perhaps,” a Gatwick spokesman said. “But broadly things are going in the right direction. By the end of the weekend, things should be back to normal.”

A handful of arrivals were cancelled on Saturday, according to the airport’s website, including an easyJet service from Milan-Linate and a TUI flight from Bridgetown, Barbados.

The UK’s second largest airport was plunged into chaos on Wednesday night when drones were spotted hovering near the runway. About 1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted , affecting about 140,000 passengers.

The airport reopened its runway on Friday, though flights were briefly grounded again in the evening after a fresh drone sighting at about 5.10pm, Military measures reassured operators it was safe to reopen the runway shortly afterwards.

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