Couple arrested over Gatwick drones chaos released without charge
A man and a woman arrested over the disruption caused by drones at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge.
Sussex Police said both the 47-year-old man and 54-year-old woman had co-operated fully and were no longer suspects in the case.
It comes as the airport offered a £50,000 reward through Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the chaos.
Around 1,000 flights were cancelled or diverted after drones were spotted inside the perimeter of the UK’s second biggest airport on Wednesday and approximately 140,000 passengers were affected.
Police searched a house in Crawley on Saturday as the pair were held on suspicion of “disrupting services of civil aviation aerodrome to endanger or likely to endanger safety of operations or persons”.
But on Sunday, Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley said: “Both people have fully co-operated with our enquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.
“It is important to remember that when people are arrested in an effort to make further enquiries it does not mean that they are guilty of an offence and Sussex Police would not seek to make their identity public.
“Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation.
“We ask for the public’s continued support by reporting anything suspicious, contacting us with any information in relation to the drone incidents at Gatwick.”
Labour has called for an independent inquiry after accusing the Government of failing to act on the risks posed by drones at Gatwick.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald claimed there were missed opportunities to prevent the airport from coming under such an attack.
“The Government was repeatedly warned about the risks posed by drones to aviation but failed to act,” he said.
“The delay in bringing forward legislation is indicative of this Government’s failure to concentrate on the day-to-day business in front of them. They have taken their eye off the ball.
“The scale of disruption is unacceptable and it demands that we find out how this was allowed to happen, which is why Labour are calling for an independent inquiry.”
On Saturday, the Times reported that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had shelved plans to introduce legislation amid pressure on his department, with civil servants being diverted to prepare for Brexit.
But a Department for Transport spokesman said the claims were “a combination of nonsense and gross misrepresentation”.
He added: “The drones at Gatwick have been flown illegally. The Government changed the law this year to make it illegal to fly drones within 1,000 meters of an airport or above 400 feet. The law couldn’t be any more clear.”