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