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False Drone Arrest Results In Costly Payout

False Gatwick Drone Frenzy Results In Cops Having To Pay Those Falsely Targeted

The last year or so was a tough year for the drone biz... as regulators went overboard with ideas about how to keep drones from ramming Grandma's airliner as well as keeping them from peeping through their daughter's windows. The paranoia was tough to deal with, and did a fair amount of damage to the industry, which is fighting for respectability and a fair shake.

Well... it just got a long over-due one. But just one, mind you

In late 2018, during the height of paranoia over unproven drone sightings near Gatwick Airport, which shut things down for days, Sussex's finest carried out an assault with at least a dozen officers on the home of Paul and Elaine Gait -- holding them for 36 hours. No drones were found and they were reportedly working and accounted for at the time of the alleged incidents.

Eventually; the two were released -- without charge --  whereupon the innocent pair sued the Sussex PD for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

Now, it appears that there has been a resolution to the matter and Sussex PD will have to dig deep into their piggybank -- to the tune of some 200,000 pounds for the settlement amount and all the associated legal fees.

Sussex Police issued a statement in response to media reports about the compensation paid to the Gaits:

“Sussex Police has paid £55,000 in a joint settlement to a couple arrested during a drone incident at Gatwick in 2018. The settlement was made on a no liability basis, avoiding lengthy court proceedings. We remain in discussion in relation to their request for legal costs.

“All parties agreed that the allegations of unlawful arrest and detention were matters that could only be settled through the courts.

“However, we recognize that things could have been done differently and have apologized to them for the impact of their experience.”

Though no one was charged, nearly 100 people were investigated in the case. The investigation reportedly cost the public some £790,000, though no arrests stuck.

FMI: https://www.sussex.police.uk/

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