Safety warning over Christmas drone craze as numbers in skies set to almost double

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“As one of the most popular purchases this Christmas, it is vital that we continue to provide the best possible advice and guidance for our customers, to ensure they can enjoy flying their new purchases safely,” added Andrew Uden, Technical Director at Maplin.

The must-have gifts are considered a safety risk that could potentially put thousands of passengers in danger following reports from several pilots who experienced near-misses with drones around British airports.

One “put 130 lives at risk” after it nearly hit an aeroplane approaching London Gatwick airport in July this year.

It was just one of 99 reported incidents so far compared to 62 in 2016 and 29 in 2015, causing ministers to consider mandatory drone tests for amateur pilots

Mr Nicholson also warned of the perils of inadvertently intruding on strangers’ privacy while operating drones.

“There are concerns about where and who you might be filming if the drone has a camera,” he said.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said drones with cameras could be covered by the data protection act. Official guidance on the website states: “If you are recording images beyond your home, a drone may intrude on the privacy of others where they expect their privacy to be respected (such as in their back garden).”

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