HOUSE SEARCH AF­TER TWO AR­RESTED IN DRONE PROBE

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - HENRY VAUGHAN AND ALEXAN­DER BRIT­TON Press As­so­ci­a­tion news­[email protected]­line.co.uk

AHOUSE near Gatwick Air­port has been searched, while a man and a woman are be­ing held over the drone chaos which af­fected around 140,000 pas­sen­gers.

The 47-year-old man and 54-yearold woman, from Craw­ley in West Sus­sex, were ar­rested in the town at about 10pm on Fri­day.

Sus­sex Po­lice said the pair are be­ing held on sus­pi­cion of “dis­rupt­ing ser­vices of civil avi­a­tion aero­drome to en­dan­ger or likely to en­dan­ger safety of op­er­a­tions or per­sons”.

A house in Craw­ley – less than five miles away from the air­port – was searched yes­ter­day, while Su­per­in­ten­dent James Col­lis said in­ves­ti­ga­tions are on­go­ing.

“We con­tinue to urge the pub­lic, pas­sen­gers and the wider com­mu­nity around Gatwick to be vig­i­lant and sup­port us by con­tact­ing us im­me­di­ately if they be­lieve they have any in­for­ma­tion that can help us in bring­ing those re­spon­si­ble to jus­tice.

“The ar­rests we have made are a re­sult of our de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep the pub­lic safe from harm. Ev­ery line of in­quiry will re­main open to us un­til we are con­fi­dent that we have mit­i­gated fur­ther threats.”

Around 1,000 flights were can­celled or di­verted af­ter drones were spot­ted in­side the perime­ter of the UK’s se­cond big­gest air­port on Wednes­day at around 9pm, af­fect­ing ap­prox­i­mately 140,000 pas­sen­gers.

A Gatwick Air­port spokesman said on Sat­ur­day morn­ing its run­way was open and it was aim­ing to op­er­ate a full flight sched­ule.

But pas­sen­gers were urged to check with their air­line be­fore trav­el­ling, with long queues and some knock-on de­lays re­main­ing at the air­port as air­lines worked to clear a back­log of flights.

“Pas­sen­gers should ex­pect some de­lays and can­cel­la­tions as we con­tinue to re­cover our op­er­a­tions fol­low­ing three days of dis­rup­tion and are ad­vised to check with their air­line be­fore trav­el­ling to the air­port,” the spokesman said.

“Safety is Gatwick’s top pri­or­ity and we are grate­ful for pas­sen­gers’ con­tin­ued pa­tience as we work to get them to their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion in time for Christ­mas.”

On Sat­ur­day, the queue for check­ins stretched the length of the de­par­tures hall – while a heavy stream of pas­sen­gers poured through the ar­rivals gates.

Flights were briefly grounded at the air­port on Fri­day evening af­ter a fresh sight­ing at around 5.10pm, but mil­i­tary mea­sures re­as­sured opera- tors it was safe to re­open the run­way shortly af­ter­wards.

Mil­i­tary equip­ment was used on Fri­day to stop fur­ther drone dis­rup­tion.

One piece of equip­ment be­lieved to have been de­ployed at the air­port is the Is­raeli-de­vel­oped Drone Dome sys­tem, which can de­tect drones us­ing radar.

It can also jam com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween the drone and its op­er­a­tor, en­abling au­thor­i­ties to take con­trol of and land the de­vice.

DO­MINIC LIPINSKI

A po­lice of­fi­cer on duty last night out­side a home in Auck­land Close, Craw­ley, which has been searched in con­nec­tion with the drone in­ci­dent at Gatwick air­port

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