Technology

Drone shooting: US home-owner faces charges

Small drones flying near wildfires have prevented fire-fighting aircraft taking off Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Small drones flying near wildfires prevented firefighting aircraft from taking off

A man in the US has shot down a drone hovering over his back garden.

William Meredith, from Hillview, Kentucky, was subsequently arrested by police.

According to local media, he was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment.

Mr Meredith told the BBC that he fired three shots at the drone before it crashed in the woods behind his house.

On Sunday, Mr Meredith's daughters came in from the back garden to tell their father that they had spotted a drone flying overhead.

Privacy fears

Mr Meredith explained that the drone was hovering above his neighbourhood. When it moved over his property, he shot it down.

Three shots from his Benelli short-barrel shotgun took the craft out of the sky.

"I went to my safe, retrieved my shotgun, went back out," he said. "I felt that I was well within my rights as an American citizen to defend my property."

He explained that he was concerned that the drone was invading his privacy and that of his daughters and that it was not the first time a drone had been sighted in the area.

Four men, including the owner of the downed drone, later confronted Mr Meredith outside his house.

"They were pretty upset, there were some words exchanged and they started towards me," he said.

At that point, Mr Meredith explained that he felt he had the right to defend himself and made the men aware that he was armed.

"My gun was holstered on my belt and never came out, I never brandished the gun, never pulled it out or waved it around, anything like that," he said.

Police in Hillview arrested Mr Meredith and charged him with offences relating to the discharge of a firearm.

This is far from being the first time that US home-owners have taken to warding off small drones with guns.

Just this week, a court in California ruled in favour of a drone-owner who sued a man who shot his hexacopter.

Fire watch

But the law isn't always in favour of drone pilots.

Over the weekend, Californian officials agreed to offer a total of $75,000 (£48,000) in rewards for information that would help catch drone operators who flew their vehicles over recent wildfires in San Bernardino County.

The flight of hobbyists' drones near to wildfires caused firefighting aircraft to be grounded for safety reasons, leading to the faster spread of the fires.

District attorney Mike Ramos said in a statement: "We want to know who was flying drones, and we want them punished.

"Someone knows who they are, and there is $75,000 waiting for them."

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