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Drone rage

Sunbathing on the beach with a friend at Norman’s Bay, HOT’s Zelly Restorick heard a camera-laden drone buzzing overhead. Privacy invaded. Rage ensued.

I have written before about walking on the East Hills and seeing a drone buzzing over head, flying to who knows where, operated by who knows who. On this occasion, sunbathing and picnicking on a secluded part of the beach, the sound of the drone was the first sign of its presence, followed by its speedy progress along the shoreline, camera fixed to its underbelly. On its way back, whoever was operating it, actually hovered it in the sky over our heads, presumably filming or viewing us.

Instant red-rage. Rarely a person who thinks or feels violently, I imagined having a gun, along the lines of a cartoon blunderbuss – and blowing the machine out of the sky. Images came to mind of South American jungle dwelling tribe-people throwing their spears at aircraft.

The fact that it wasn’t a military drone targeting me as an enemy seemed to be the sole small saving grace.

Who was it that was observing my friend and I? For what purpose? Is this the future? No place to escape being watched by some unknown person or people? Our sky filled with camera carrying drones, destroying not only privacy and peace of mind, but the silence and beauty of the sky as well? Are we so accustomed in this country to being observed and filmed that this is acceptable? And how exactly does one discover to whom the drone belongs?

Have you had any drone experiences? Any experience with the current laws in relation to personal drones, beyond their potential danger to flight paths?

Current laws on use of drones: Trusted Reviews.

Posted 08:19 Tuesday, Sep 4, 2018 In: Home Ground


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  1. Mr Melvyn Bond

    As a regular drone flier, albeit in Scotland, I can completely understand the anger of people who have been overflown and filmed.
    The new drone regulations brought in this month require all drones and operators
    to be licensed, after taking a test. The aircraft must be marked with its registration number. The police have been asked to enforce any complaints, so you should report any intrusive operator. The law now states no drone shall be flown within 50m of a person and 150m of a building.
    On a more positive note, although they have good cameras, the lenses are wide angle and it would be impossible to identify any face unless flown very close to the person.

    Comment by Mr Melvyn Bond — Thursday, Nov 28, 2019 @ 17:38

  2. Bil

    Just remember there is no expectation of privacy in public.

    Comment by Bil — Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019 @ 15:52

  3. Zelly Restorick

    I have also heard from one of the writers for the HOT team: “Friend of friends were sitting in their garden in London and a drone buzzed overhead and circled them. A few days later they were burgled.”
    I will check out the drone issue more.
    Thank you to everyone who has written in – as least I know I am not alone in my drone rage.
    All good wishes,
    Zelly Restorick

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 @ 08:26

  4. melinski

    I experienced this back in the summer when a drone flew over our courtyard garden where we were having a private supper with a few friends at dusk. It hovered for at least 5 minutes over us, moving away and then returning immediately…a total invasion of privacy! I cannot understand how this has ever been allowed to start?

    Comment by melinski — Monday, Sep 10, 2018 @ 12:18

  5. Zelly Restorick

    Thanks for getting back to me, DAR. Very much appreciated. All good wishes, Zelly

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Monday, Sep 10, 2018 @ 10:16

  6. DAR

    Zelly, she got on to the Civil Aviation Authority to forward me the regulations – which I said I felt were too lax. There has been some acknowledgement of the problem (because of a spate of near misses)and a bit more publicity about the regulations, but IMHO gun-style licences should be demanded.

    Comment by DAR — Monday, Sep 10, 2018 @ 09:33

  7. Eye on the ball

    Strongly agree with other comments. They should only be available with a licence and only where a justifiable use can be shown. They should not be allowed to fly anywhere at the owner’s whim. I hope our MP has read this article and her constituents feelings on the matter.

    Comment by Eye on the ball — Saturday, Sep 8, 2018 @ 07:46

  8. siobhan Moore

    I experienced a drone invasion whilst painting on the beach at dungeness, the drone hovered watched, just feet above our heads, i put my hand up to signal it to leave, it went only to return and hover again for about 5 minutes, it left when i picked up a stone ready to hurl and bring the intruder down. we saw the culprit walking past a few minutes later head averted from us. completely spoilt the peace and privacy we had been enjoying. if we had been sunbathing it would have felt like perverse voyerism.

    Comment by siobhan Moore — Thursday, Sep 6, 2018 @ 10:02

  9. Zelly Restorick

    Dear DAR,
    May I ask you what Amber Rudd’s replies have been?
    Thank you for sending a Comment.
    All good wishes,
    Zelly Restorick

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Thursday, Sep 6, 2018 @ 09:31

  10. DAR

    I have written to Amber Rudd at least 3 times in the last 4 years about the drone menace, telling her that the government is behind the curve on this issue. Regulations are still too lax. There should be gun-style licences for private ownership – and purchasers should have to show good reason to have one. At the moment, any Tom, Dick or Harry can get one. I suppose there won’t be much of an outcry until a plane is brought down by one of these things.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, Sep 6, 2018 @ 09:24

  11. Sunbear

    This is indeed an appalling invasion of privacy. I dread the increasing proliferation of these monsters. Surely they are bound to crash into people, cars , buildings and heaven knows what else.

    Comment by Sunbear — Thursday, Sep 6, 2018 @ 01:47

  12. Ms.Doubtfire

    There are new laws in place (or about to be put in place) to control the use of these drones.
    Why would someone want to hover over people sunbathing on the beach??? This is voyeurism and IMHO this event should be reported to the police.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Sep 4, 2018 @ 16:49

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