DRONE COP: I AM SO SORRY ‘Vi­o­lated pair can get life back’

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREW WOOD­COCK sun­[email protected]­lystar.co.uk

A PO­LICE chief has said he feels “re­ally sorry” for an in­no­cent cou­ple held over the Gatwick drone fi­asco.

Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk said they felt “vi­o­lated” af­ter be­ing de­tained for 36 hours be­fore be­ing cleared of in­volve­ment.

Their house was searched as of­fi­cers hunted for the pi­lot of a drone which brought the air­port to a stand­still. About 1,000 flights were can­celled or di­verted over three days be­fore Christ­mas.

Sus­sex Po­lice chief Giles York said the pair could now get their lives “back on track” af­ter they were ruled out of the in­quiry.

Mr York added he was “ab­so­lutely cer­tain” that a drone was fly­ing near the run­ways – de­spite one of­fi­cer claim­ing there may never have been one in the first place. But he did ad­mit that some of the sight­ings which shut down flights may have been caused by his force launch­ing its own drones in the hunt for the rogue air­craft.

The chief con­sta­ble said he was “re­ally sorry” for the cou­ple from Craw­ley, West Sus­sex, who were de­tained, but he said the grounds for ar­rest were “well-founded” in law­ful sus­pi­cion. And he de­fended the de­ci­sion to hold Mr Gait for so long, de­spite his boss say­ing he was at work dur­ing the drone flights.

Mr York added: “I am re­ally sorry for what he went through, but the rea­son why we held him was so that we could dis­pel ev­ery­thing in the first in­stance.”

He said that it had al­lowed of­fi­cers to rule out Mr Gait and give him “the best op­por­tu­nity to put his life back on the rails”.

Mr York con­firmed that mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy was now in place at Gatwick.

He added: “The sys­tems that are in place to­day are dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent to what was in place a week ago.”

APOL­OGY: Cou­ple. Right, Mr York

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