Drone Pilot Trespasses at Stryker’s Cork Plant

A drone pilot from Waterford was found guilty of trespassing after an incident at Stryker's medical devices facility in Cork, . The court heard that Kieran Jones, 54, flew his drone over the plant without permission, causing alarm among the staff, reports the Irish Examiner.

Pilot's Unpermitted Drone Flight

Kieran Jones, of 9 Deerpark, Clonlea Power, Co Waterford, went to Stryker's facility in Anngrove, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, on August 16 last year. He informed the staff he would be recording aerial footage of the plant but did not seek permission to do so. Security officer Gerard Murray testified that Jones became aggressive when informed of the company's no-photography policy. Murray said Jones recorded him on his phone and refused to delete the footage, which escalated the situation.

Tense Confrontation with Staff

The incident, occurring shortly after a fatal accident at the plant, heightened staff sensitivity. Murray felt threatened and called his superiors for assistance. Yvonne O'Shea, the facility manager and health and safety officer, joined Murray and described Jones as “very agitated.” She said Jones, who was carrying a backpack and a selfie stick, refused to identify himself or leave the premises, prompting them to call the guards.

Gardaí Involvement

Garda Lorraine Manning responded to the call and reported that Jones refused to provide his name and address, necessitating his arrest for trespassing. Jones defended his actions in court, stating he was insured and legally allowed to fly his drone over the Stryker plant from a public footpath. He claimed the purpose of the flight was to observe solar panels for health and safety statistics.

Court's Decision

Judge Colm Roberts found that Jones' actions constituted trespassing likely to cause fear. He criticized Jones for not seeking permission, describing his behavior as obstinate and entitled. The judge deferred sentencing until May 23, considering supervision by the probation service and a fine as possible penalties.

The court's decision underscores the importance of adhering to property permissions, especially in sensitive areas like manufacturing plants. Jones' failure to seek approval and his aggressive behavior led to his conviction, highlighting the need for drone pilots to respect private property rights and maintain professionalism in their activities.

Photo courtesy of the Irish Examiner.

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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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