Gatwick drone chaos - Sussex Police forced to pay £419,000 dealing with 'deliberate criminal act'

The Christmas drone chaos at Gatwick Airport has so far cost Sussex Police a staggering £419,000.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 2:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 2:51 pm
Armed police were part of the response to the incident

The figure includes £332,000 spend on overtime pay for officers, many of whom had to spend hours and hours at the airport.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "The illegal drone incursion at Gatwick over the Christmas period was unprecedented and led to a national multi-agency response to protect public safety.

"The mutual aid agreements in place, taken with over-time costs, ensured frontline policing services in Sussex remained unaffected during this period.

Officers had to work considerable amounts of overtime in response to the drones

"Resource levels were reviewed throughout and stood-down as soon as practicable.

"This figure reflects the cost of policing a deliberate criminal act of this nature.

"The cost of the wider network of national support which contributed to the response, outside of policing, will not fall on Sussex Police."

Airline lost £15m in drone chaos

Hundreds of flights were cancelled during the disruption, with easyJet confirming that the chaos cost the company £15m.

The company confirmed it paid £10m to customers in welfare costs due to the forced airport closure which affected 82,000 of its customers. More than 400 flights were cancelled costing the airline a further £5m, it added.

Police searching sites and conducting house to house enquiries

In an update earlier this year, police confirmed they had searched more than 25 sites as investigations into the illegal drone use continued.

Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles Yorke said in January: “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."