Updated 1145hrs – 22nd December from Sussex Police
A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, both from Crawley, were arrested in the town on suspicion of disrupting services of civil aviation aerodrome to endanger or likely to endanger safety of operations or persons. They remained in custody at 11am on Saturday.
*Updated* 0125hrs – 22nd December
Superintendent James Collis said “As part of our ongoing investigations into the criminal use of drones which has severely disrupted flights in and out of Gatwick Airport, Sussex Police made two arrests just after 10pm on 21 December.
A number of safety measures have been brought in to enable Gatwick Airport to re-open on Friday (December 21).
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said: “We are really pleased that the airport has re-opened. The number of options now available to help us detect and mitigate the threat from the drone has given us increased confidence in keeping people safe.
“This, and the fact the last confirmed sighting was before 10pm last night, is reassuring for passengers who have been disrupted by this criminal behaviour.
“This has been a particularly challenging situation. We have looked at everything possible that we can deploy to mitigate this threat and we have a range of measures, of differing levels of sophistication, in place which puts us in a much better position. We are being supported by Surrey Police and Metropolitan Police, as well as the military.
“I cannot guarantee that another drone isn’t going to pop up and disrupt the airport. The situation is being kept under review but we are in a much more positive situation than yesterday. The runway is open and we hope to keep it that way.
“We are working very closely with Gatwick Airport Limited and the Civil Aviation Authority and are in close consultation with the government and other agencies in an effort to keep people safe.
“We have significantly increased our police presence to support the operation.
“We are now actively carrying out a criminal investigation and have a number of lines of enquiry. This has been a deliberate act to endanger the airfield and aircraft, a really serious offence that carries significant sentences, and we are doing all we can to find those responsible.
“Anyone with information about the incident or who may have suspicions about the drone operators is asked to report online or call 101 quoting Operation Trebor. If you see anyone acting suspiciously in the area of the airport, please dial 999 immediately.”