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Man sentenced for flying drone over Download Festival in East Midlands Airport restricted zone

A man who recklessly flew his drone near the Download Festival site and into the restricted airspace of a major international airport has been sentenced in court.

Daniel Cesare, of Oakfields Grove in Derby, admitted seven charges including two counts of remotely piloting an unmanned aircraft flight in a restricted zone without permission, two counts of flying his drone above the maximum height allowed, and two counts of flying his drone beyond his line of sight.

It was during the evening of Friday 9 June 2023 when Cesare flew his drone near the festival site while a plane was coming into land at East Midlands Airport, with the 36-year-old’s aircraft within the restricted airspace of the airport.

Cesare returned on Saturday 10 June and, once again, flew near the festival while tens of thousands of people were below, unaware of the unauthorised flight above them.

East Midlands Police Counter Drone Officers traced the signal to a location in Shardlow Road, Aston-on-Trent where they found Cesare and detained him as he was landing his aircraft.

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Screenshot 2023 08 29 at 16.02.38
© Derbyshire Police

The 36-year-old admitted the charges against him at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 17 August. He appeared at the same court on Friday 25 August for sentence when he was fined £1,008, ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £403. Magistrates also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drone and his mobile phone.

PC Stephen Booth, from our Drones Team, said: “Cesare showed, on two occasions, a complete disregard for the rules around flying a drone. Twice he took his aircraft into the restricted airspace of East Midlands Airport, on the first occasion as a plane was in the process of landing.

“He also showed disregard for the tens of thousands of people attending the Download Festival and their safety, flying the drone out of his line of sight ran the risk of him losing control of that aircraft which could have had catastrophic consequences.

“Laws surround the flying of a drone for a reason, they are to keep the pilot and those around the flight path as safe as possible. This sentence proves the courts take those who ignore the law seriously, as do we, and we will continue to bring those who flout the rules to justice.”

@westbridgfordwirenews A man who recklessly flew his drone near the Download Festival site and into the restricted airspace of a major international airport has been sentenced in court. . Full story linkinbio It was during the evening of Friday 9 June 2023 when Cesare flew his drone near the festival site while a plane was coming into land at East Midlands Airport, with the 36-year-old’s aircraft within the restricted airspace of the airport. Cesare returned on Saturday 10 June and, once again, flew near the festival while tens of thousands of people were below, unaware of the unauthorised flight above them.  East Midlands Police Counter Drone Officers traced the signal to a location in Shardlow Road, Aston-on-Trent where they found Cesare and detained him as he was landing his aircraft. #downloadfestival2023 #downloadfestival #dronevideo #drone #derbyshire #eastmidlandsairport #eastmidlands #fyp #foryoupage #nottinghamshire ♬ original sound – West Bridgford Wire News

Simon Hinchley, East Midlands Airport’s Operations Director, said: “Flying drones in restricted zones near an airport is not only dangerous and reckless but is also a criminal offence. Anyone caught doing so will be prosecuted and could face a prison sentence and high fines. Drone users should familiarise themselves with the strict rules and regulations in place to keep themselves and others safe.”

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