Dorset Police and BCP Council’s warning for drone pilots ahead of Bournemouth Air Festival
DRONE pilots face prosecution and risk having their equipment seized by the police if they fly in restricted airspace at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.
The warning comes from Dorset Police who are “keen to remind everyone” of the air and sea restrictions in place for the event, which begins on Thursday.
Last year, counter-drone police officers detected nine flying in air festival space, with pilots having their equipment seized and being subjected to police action.
A marine safety zone has also been set up to prohibit boats from entering the sea below the flight display area, with marine patrols making sure everyone sticks to the rules.
Dorset Police gold commander, assistant chief constable Mark Callaghan, said: “Our multi-agency approach includes high visibility patrols by uniformed officers, armed police and security staff as well as CCTV monitoring.
“We want to welcome everyone to come and enjoy the air festival responsibly, while reminding them to be vigilant and report anything suspicious.
“Overall, it’s about keeping everyone safe on the land, in the sea and in the skies, so those visiting the event can have a fantastic time over the four days.”
BCP Council’s festival director Jon Weaver added: “Keeping everyone safe and following the relevant guidance is so important to the successful running of any festival.
“Behind the scenes, a huge workforce is coming together to ensure everything runs smoothly for the visitors, traders, pilots, military personnel, press, and everyone else attending the air festival, with safety the key priority underpinning the whole event.
“From the essential air restrictions that are in place to the marine safety zone, we have an extensive and robust event plan that covers all aspects of the operations, and we work alongside Dorset Police and other emergency services to provide the best possible experience for people attending.”
Festival organisers are urging people to be aware of ongoing rail strikes affecting travel plans at the weekend, with visitors being urged to plan their journeys in advance.
Mr Weaver added: “There are many alternative ways to travel to the air festival including by bus and coach, with plenty of providers offering great prices on travel to and from Bournemouth throughout the summer.
“Although this strike action may affect a small number of travellers, I’m confident the majority will make alternative travel arrangements to come and enjoy the air festival.”