In the latest update on the Gatwick Airport drone sightings in the U.K., the Sussex Police say they are offering a 50,000 British pounds reward for information related to the incident.
Gatwick Airport Ltd. is offering the reward through an independent charity, Crimestoppers, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for “the criminal acts” that caused “widespread disruption of flights,” the police said in a Dec. 24 news release.
“We can unequivocally state that there have been numerous illegal drone sightings at the airport over three days from 19 to 21 December,” says Jo Shiner, chief constable at the Sussex Police. “There were numerous reports clustered around 37 occasions where a drone or drones were seen, and I am keen for those responsible to be brought to justice.”
According to the police, the first report was on Dec. 19 at around 9:00 p.m., when an airport security officer finishing work reported seeing two drones flying near Perimeter Road South. He described their cross shape and flashing lights.
Other sightings included as follows, the police say:
-Half an hour later, at about 9:30 p.m., six people, including five police officers, reported within 15 minutes of each other seeing a drone with white and red lights near the runway.
-Early the next morning at around 1:15 a.m. on Dec. 20, six people – three airport workers and three police officers – reported over 30 minutes seeing a drone near the runway.
-Over about 30 minutes at about 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 21, six people – a member of the public and five police officers – reported seeing a drone near a hangar.
-In a further report at around 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 21, a pilot reported seeing a drone near a stand on the airfield. The account was corroborated by a member of staff.
Shiner adds, “The impact of this criminal and reckless behavior has been enormous, and we are determined to locate those responsible to bring them to justice. We are investigating this under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act.
“We urge the public to contact us if they feel they have information that will help us in our investigation. Contacting Crimestoppers, they can do this anonymously. We ask the public to continue to support us by reporting any suspicious activity.”
Mark Hallas, CEO of Crimestoppers, says, “We are happy to support Gatwick Airport Ltd. on this reward to catch whoever has been ruining the travel plans of so many people this holiday season. Giving information through Crimestoppers, whether by phone or online, will always be 100 percent anonymous – we’re interested in what you know, not your name.”
If you have any information, the Sussex Police urges you to contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.