Rogue Drone Incident Raises Security Fears During King’s Coronation

Amateur Drone Pilot's Actions Spark Concerns of Russian Sabotage

Fears of a possible Russian sabotage attempt gripped central London on May 6, the day of the King's coronation. According to The Times, an amateur drone pilot breached a no-fly zone over the city, setting off this alarm and raising serious concerns among chiefs.

Breach of No-Fly Zone During High-Profile Event

Drone flights were prohibited in central London as part of extensive security measures for the coronation. However, on the morning of the event, radar operators detected a drone over Buckingham Palace, Westminster, and Kensington.

This drone incident set off immediate alarm in the police control room, as authorities sought to determine the origin and intent of the drone.

Suspicions and Immediate Response

The drone's emergence from the direction of the Russian embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens heightened concerns. This was particularly worrying as it came days after two suspected Ukrainian drones were shot down near President Putin's offices in the Kremlin.

Discussions reportedly took place about the possibility of shooting down the drone, although Scotland Yard did not confirm these discussions. Counter-drone measures were deployed to address the situation.

Arrest and Legal Consequences of Drone Incident

Subsequent investigations led to the arrest of Waleed Maray, a 36-year-old American national from Notting Hill, west London. In July, Maray was found guilty at Westminster magistrates' court of six contraventions of the Air Navigation Order 2016, resulting in a fine of £4,750.

Police Condemnation of Irresponsible Drone Use

Commander Karen Findlay, head of the coronation policing operation, criticized Maray's actions as “extremely irresponsible and dangerous.”

She emphasized the potential risk to the public, especially considering the large crowds present for the coronation.

The police take unauthorized drone use in restricted airspace, particularly during major events, very seriously due to the potential risk to the public and potential for significant disruption.

Preventative Measures and Warnings

Ahead of the coronation, air traffic controllers had issued a special notice banning drone flights below 2,500ft within a 2.5-mile radius of central London.

Police warned drone operators about the capabilities to detect and penalize unlawful drone use, highlighting the possibility of fines or prosecution for offenders.

Evolving Anti-Drone Technologies

The in the United Kingdom follows the chaos caused by unauthorized drone activity at Gatwick in December 2018. Since then, anti- has evolved significantly.

Police teams are now believed to use radar for drone detection and monitor radio frequencies used by operators, employing radio jamming to prevent drones from entering restricted areas.

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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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