Nigel Wilson of Bingham, Nottinghamshire pled guilty to nine counts of flying his drone over several football fields and Buckingham Palace last year.
As first reported in DroneLife in March, Wilson had been summoned to appear before the Magistrate Court on several counts of violating the Air Navigation Order 2009. The law prohibits deploying a UAV through “congested areas” without permission from the British version of the FAA, the Civil Aviation Authority.
Wilson was accused of flying over football matches at Liverpool’s Anfield, the Nottingham Forest Stadium, Leicester’s King Power Stadium, Derby Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates, Stoke’s Britannia Stadium and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. In addition, he was accused of flying over Westminster and the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace and the North Bank of the River Thames.
Due to insufficient evidence, some of the charges were dropped, authorities said. Wilson was ultimately fined 1,800 pounds and may not own or use a drone for two years.
“At each and every one of these places an accident could have occurred simply by a gust of wind or something of that nature taking it out of your control,” District Judge Quentin Purdy stated during Wilson’s hearing.
“In each and every case you knew what you were doing. Several times you were warned by police, who seized drones from you, and on numerous occasions by people posting on your YouTube channel. It was the height of arrogance in terms of public safety.”
Defense attorney Susan Bryant countered: “It was something he put a great amount of time into in terms of improving his skill.”
“We can confirm that we have assisted the police in preparing this prosecution. There are clear rules and regulations in place regarding the flying of drones in the UK and it is the responsibility of users to spend time fully understanding what those rules are,” a CAA spokesperson stated.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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