Police and army launch investigation after drone grounds Heathrow flights

James Warrington
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Heathrow Airport Third Runway Given Go Ahead By The UK Government
Flights at Heathrow resumed last night, and the airport confirmed it is “operating normally” this morning (Source: Getty)

Police have brought in help from the military as they carry out an investigation into a drone sighting that brought Heathrow airport to a standstill last night.

The Met police said it has launched a “full criminal investigation” into the drone, which grounded flights for roughly an hour last night, just weeks after a similar incident at Gatwick.

Met commander Stuart Cundy confirmed military assistance had been brought in to help the police monitor airspace around the airport, but would not comment on the details of the force’s tactics.

Read more: Heathrow suspends departures after drone scare

“We are deploying significant resources - both in terms of officers and equipment - to monitor the airspace around Heathrow and to quickly detect and disrupt any illegal drone activity; some of which are as a result of learning from the incidents at Gatwick,” he said.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Last night, at the request of the Metropolitan Police, our armed forces deployed to assist and support them.

“Our armed forces are always there when needed, ready to support the civilian authorities with our capabilities.”

Flights at Heathrow resumed last night, and the airport confirmed it is “operating normally” this morning.

The government yesterday said police will be given new powers to land and seize drones in a bid to combat potential disruption to airports.

The exclusion areas around airports will also be extended from one kilometre to five kilometres with extensions around runways, the government said.

Read more: Gatwick and Heathrow spend millions to prevent future drone disruption

The disruption at the west London airport comes just weeks after Gatwick was forced to close repeatedly due to drone sightings, causing chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Both airports said they plan to spend millions of pounds on anti-drone technology.