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Drone deployed after suspected car thief chased through Nottingham

A suspected car thief was found hiding in bushes by a keen-eyed police drone operator.

Officers spotted a car being driven at high speed in the Radford area at around 12.15am on Friday 18 March and began to follow it.

After passing through several red lights the car stopped in Rowley Drive, New Basford, and its driver fled on foot.

Officers sealed off the area and called in a police drone to help in their search.

Within moments of the drone taking off, a figure was spotted lurking behind a bush by its thermal imaging camera.

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The drone pilot then guided officers the correct location and a suspect was detained.

A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to the stop, theft, drink and drug-driving. He was later released on conditional place bail as investigations continue.

PC Vince Saunders, chief drone pilot at Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a great bit of teamwork by the drone operator and the various officers on the ground.

“Our drone technology provides a readily available aerial view of any situation and is perfectly suited to this kind of work.

“Thanks to our thermal imaging camera we are able to identify people in the dark in location where they would simply be imperceptible to the naked eye.

“I am delighted we were able to help to apprehend a suspect in this instance.”

The force’s drones unit, a shared resource with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, operates six drones of varying sizes and is available to carry out responsive and pre-planned operations across the county 24 hours a day.

Its team of 17 pilots – who volunteer for drone shifts on top of their day-to-day duties as police officers – operate a fleet of six drones, three of which are able to track vehicles over short distances using high powered zoom cameras.

Since it was launched in January 2020 the team has helped to locate 23 vulnerable missing people and helped in the arrest of suspects on 75 different occasions.


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