Essex

Illegal Kirby Cross drone pilot put rail network at risk

Tornado steam locomotive at Frinton-on-Sea
Image caption Essex Police said the drone pilot had been dealt by way of community resolution

A drone pilot put the the rail network at risk by flying his aircraft too close to people and a 100mph steam train.

Police tracked down the pilot who used his drone illegally in Kirby Cross, Essex, during a visit by Tornado in August.

The 28-year-old man, from Kirby Cross, admitted breaching the Air Navigation Order 2016.

Essex Police said he had been dealt by way of community resolution.

The force said the pilot had also been found selling his images from the visit by Tornado - a 2008-built Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive - in a local shop, which is illegal without clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Wendy Welsh, head of air operations at Network Rail, said people flying drones near the railway could face a penalty of up to £2,500.

"If a train collided with a drone, it could cause a serious accident," she added.

"A drone could fly into and damage vital equipment - such as overhead wires or pylons - costing thousands to repair and causing hours of train delays.

"Only our team of highly trained authorised pilots and specialist approved contractors are permitted to fly drones near the railway."

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