Rogue Drone Operator Faces Court for Football Chaos

In a recent unprecedented football incident, a man faces repercussions for flying a drone over an ongoing match. The incident, causing an unexpected interruption, brought the match to a temporary halt.

27-year-old Lewis Franks is the man accused of piloting the drone over the National League play-off semi-final between Chesterfield and Bromley. The drone was reportedly hovering above Chesterfield's Technique Stadium in Derbyshire around 5:20 pm on May 7, when it caught the attention of officials. Safety protocols were swiftly enacted as Referee Scott Simpson led the players off the field until the drone was spotted landing.

Franks was reportedly brought before the Derby magistrates on Thursday for the initial hearing. Dressed in a dark raincoat, white shirt, and black tie, he confirmed his personal details but did not enter a plea during the brief 10-minute court appearance.

The proceedings have been adjourned, with Franks granted unconditional bail. He is due to appear again at the Chesterfield Magistrates' Court on June 19. The charges brought against him include piloting a drone over an assembly of people, operating a drone beyond visual line of sight, and failing to both register as a drone operator and display an operator ID on the drone.

This case shines a light on the potential misuse of and serves as a stark reminder for operators to adhere strictly to aviation laws to avoid such incidents and the subsequent legal consequences.

Photo courtesy of Jacob King / PA / PA Wire

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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