Gatwick drone police urged to step aside after ‘messing up’ investigation
26th December 2018

Police investigating the Gatwick Airport drone attacks have been urged to step aside after being accused of "messing up" the investigation.

Sussex Police has come under fire for its handing of the investigation into drone flights that plunged the country’s second biggest airport into chaos just days before Christmas.

Innocent Paul Gait, 47, and Elaine Kirk-Gait, 54, were arrested then released without charge a day later. They later said they felt "completely violated".

Then a senior police officer claimed there may never have been any drones flying over Gatwick at all – only for the force to issue a ‘clarification’ statement afterwards.

A further drone ‘sighting’ later turned out to be lights on top of a crane.

There are now calls for Scotland Yard to assume control of the investigation. And ministers are understood to be furious at how the Sussex Police investigation was "messed up".

MP John Woodcock, a member of the Commons home affairs committee, told the Daily Telegraph: "This whole sorry episode shows why we need a nationally agreed and understood robust procedure for dealing with incidents like this. There may be a case for a different police force."

And Lord Harris, former Home Office representative to the Metropolitan Police authority, told the publication: "Clearly if you treated it like a terrorist threat, the Metropolitan Police would have been leading the operation."

Mr Gait said outside his home after he was released without charge: "As you can probably imagine, we are feeling completely violated.

"Our home has been searched, and our privacy and identity completely exposed.

"Our names, photos and other personal information have been broadcast throughout the world."

Later that day Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said there was "always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place", but the force later backtracked on these remarks.

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