BBC:- Nottingham man illegally flew drones over football grounds and London attractions

This chap got off lightly I thought with the amount he was fined, much less than a flyaway that landed in a nuclear sub base. Its not the first prosecution in the UK as many outlets are touting, but the first of this kind.

The fellow does now have a criminal record. It also means the police in the UK have a case to look towards when prosecuting others based on YouTube videos.

As an aside my brother was at one of the matches and called me to say he could see the chap flying, he was plainly not staying out of the way.

A man has admitted illegally flying drones over professional football matches and London landmarks.

Nigel Wilson admitted nine breaches of taking video over football grounds and tourist attractions last year.

Wilson, from Bingham, Nottinghamshire, was originally accused of 17 breaches of the Air Navigation Order but some charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

He was fined £1,800 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Wilson, 42, was accused by Scotland Yard of flying the aircraft unmanned and “failing to maintain direct visual contact”.

The charges he admitted included flying the drone on:

  • September 16 - Liverpool v Ludogorets FC at Anfield
  • September 23 - Derby County v Reading at iPro Stadium, Derby
  • September 27 - Palace of Westminster, London
  • September 27 - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium, London
  • October 9 - Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace and north bank of the River Thames in London
  • October 18 - Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium, Manchester

This was the first case of a person being prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service for using drones after a police-led operation.

The court heard police horses were startled by Wilson’s device as it flew over a Champions League group stage game between Liverpool and Bulgarian visitors Ludogorets at Anfield.

He was also twice arrested in London and had his drones confiscated.

Ignored safety warnings

District Judge Quentin Purdy told Wilson, a security guard, he had put the public at risk by flying the drones over busy, built-up areas.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Wilson, a father-of-two, shot the videos using three unmanned aircraft and uploaded them to his YouTube channel, PV2+ Adventures.

Susan Bryant, defending, described Wilson as a “hobbyist”, adding: “It was something he put a great amount of time into in terms of improving his skill.”

Views: 645

Comment by David Drysdale on September 16, 2015 at 7:47am

This all assumes drones are actually a public safety risk we should be concerned with. I know everyone goes on how scary something could be not how much damage it does statistically. But 99% of quads in the air would cause way less damage way less often the cyclist pedestrian accidents would.

Comment by Peter Seddon on September 16, 2015 at 9:49am

@David Drysdale the Air Navigation Order that regulates all flying activity in the UK and has done for nearly 95years, and is there to protect us, clearly states in Article 167 the separation distance for small unmanned surveillance aircraft. Nigel Wilson was originally accused of 17 breaches of the Order. Is that not a good enough reason to convict him?

Accident statistics are irrelevant to a contravention of the law, especially when compared across different types of activity. 


Comment by David Drysdale on September 17, 2015 at 10:43am

@Peter Seddon You know it was against the law for gay people to get married not that long ago and still is in many parts of the world.  A bad law is a bad law accident statistics are all that matters. Yes he was breaking the law but a law that is not really protecting anybody from any real danger.


Comment by Gary Mortimer on September 17, 2015 at 11:16am

I'm actually very proud of the UK laws and the way the CAA handles things. This chap was given more than one warning but persisted.  


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