Gatwick Airport drone chaos: more than 25 sites searched by police

Police investigating the Christmas drone chaos at Gatwick Airport have searched more than 25 sites.

Officers have conducted ‘extensive’ house-to-house enquiries as they continue to find those responsible for ruining the Christmasses of countless travellers.

Armed police at Gatwick Airport last month

Armed police at Gatwick Airport last month

The drone sightings – which are not believed to be terror related – grounded hundreds of flights as the runways were closed.

‘Deliberate and sustained criminal act’

Speaking today, Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles Yorke said: “Our heart goes out to the thoundands of people’s Christmasses that were disrupted by this event.

“It was a deliberate and sustained act of criminal drone activity that caused that disruption, and it was designed to disrupt airport operation.

Arrivals and departures at Gatwick Airport were heavily disrupted following drone sightings

Arrivals and departures at Gatwick Airport were heavily disrupted following drone sightings

“Globalling nothing has been seen like this before and so the situation was unprecedented.

“The capability to deal with such events nationally has been strengthened as a result of this incident.”

Police officers worked more than 800 extra shifts during the disruption, the Chief Constable said.

READ MORE: Drone organisation warns against ‘knee-jerk’ reactions to Gatwick Airport chaos

Thousands of passengers on their way to see their families for Christmas were hit by the disruption

Thousands of passengers on their way to see their families for Christmas were hit by the disruption

Update on the investigation

CC Yorke said that police are carrying out a dedicated senior investigating officer with a full team are carrying out ‘thorough and comprehensive’ investigation.

He added: “We have made specific appeals for information to local and relevant communities such as drone interest groups.

“We have made extensive house to house enquiries – over 1,000 houses have been visited in the area.

The Chief Constable says lessons have been learned from the incident

The Chief Constable says lessons have been learned from the incident

“There have been physical searches of over 25 sites identified as being potentially relevant to the drone sightings.”

AS IT HAPPENED: Look back over the drone chaos with our blow-by-blow blog of the incident

Appeal for information

The Chief Constable reiterated the appeal for information about what happened.

He said: “If anybody does think they have any leads around this absolutely contact us or contact Crimestoppers.”

Crimestoppers charity are offering a £50,000 reward for information.

To contact Crimestoppers anonymously call 0800 555 111 or use the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Crimestoppers said the reward will only qualify if information is passed to it by either of these methods.