Dalby, a resident of Devonshire Place, Brighton, admitted to recklessly or negligently causing or permitting an aircraft to endanger a person or property. He operated the drone contrary to the Air Navigation Order, leading to its loss of control and subsequent crash onto the concert stage. The harrowing footage captured the drone narrowly missing audience members, underscoring the potential danger of the situation.
The court imposed a fine of £576 on Dalby, along with a £230 surcharge and £85 in costs. This prosecution is believed to be the first of its kind under current legislation.
In response to this incident, Sussex Police and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are releasing the footage to emphasize the illegality and risks associated with such irresponsible drone usage. The CAA provides online guidance for drone operators at www.caa.co.uk/drones, stressing the importance of flying drones safely and within legal limits.
The CAA mandates that all drone operators must register with them and obtain a Flyer ID through their website at www.register-drones.caa.co.uk. It is a legal requirement for operators to keep the drone in sight at all times during flight, ensure it remains below 400ft, and avoid flying over congested areas.
This case serves as a stern reminder of the legal responsibilities and safety considerations essential for operating drones, particularly in public spaces and during events.
Sussex Police Drone Training Officer PC Steven Prince said: “Dalby operated a drone above a crowded beach concert on Brighton beach.
“He lost control of the aircraft which then crashed into the stage, near to a musician who was in the middle of a live performance.
“Dalby is fortunate that no one was harmed, but this case should act as a reminder to all drone operators about how to stay within the law.”
Jonathan Nicholson, spokesperson at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Drones can be great fun to fly and are undertaking more and more useful rules such as delivering medical supplies.
“However, they must be flown safely and this incident shows what can happen if people don’t follow the rules. Our dronecode provides a simple guide to the rules along with advice on how to enjoy flying your drone.”l