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Mon 31 Oct 2016 10:17 AM

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Illegal drone users face arrest, huge fines, Dubai Police warns

Commander in chief issues reminder after Dubai International Airport shut down for an hour on Saturday

Illegal drone users face arrest, huge fines, Dubai Police warns
(Getty Images)

Unauthorised drone users could be arrested and face hefty fines, the head of the Dubai Police force has warned.

The announcement comes after airports in Dubai and Sharjah were closed on Saturday evening for over an hour due to illegal drone activity in the city’s airspace. At least 40 inbound flights were diverted from Dubai International Airport (DXB).

Khaleej Times reported Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina as saying the police “will not hesitate” to arrest anyone caught using drones without permission.

The police air wings were conducting surveillance flights to detect drones, the newspaper said.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is working with companies selling drones in the UAE to inform their customers on the new regulations and restrict sales to licensed individuals and organisations.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCCA) implemented new regulations that regulate the safety of airspace in order to reduce the risk caused by drones, with those caught violating the rules facing punitive legal action.

In a tweet, Dubai Airports reminded drone operators that activities were not permitted within five kilometres of any airport or landing area.

Dubai Police has urged citizens and residents to call 999 or inform the nearby police patrols if they see anyone operating an unlicensed drone.

On Sunday, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, called for drones sold or operated in the UAE to be “geofenced” to restrict their activity in airport’s territory.

Following an incident in 2015, Dubai International Airport was named as one of four drone no-fly zones established by the GCAA. The others are Al Maktoum International Airport, the Al Minhad air base and the Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah areas near Skydive Dubai.

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