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Friday, 21 November 2014

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Man's £4,000 bill for taking surveillance plane through no-fly zone

An aviation enthusiast who flew a surveillance plane through a no-fly zone has been ordered to pay more than £4,000 by a court.

Robert Knowles, 46, was found to be in control of an unmanned aircraft which travelled within 50 metres of Walney Bridge and over the BAE shipyard in Barrow on August 25.

The aircraft crashed into Walney Channel and was recovered by a BAE employee.

A camera on the plane filmed its journey and Knowles was only identified due to it capturing his car registration number as it set off.

It is against air regulations to fly aircraft over the BAE facility without permission from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Knowles, of King Street, Dalton, was convicted at Furness Magistrates’ Court yesterday for failing to comply with air regulations.

He was fined £800 for being both the controller and operator of the plane, and was ordered to pay £3,500 in court costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

Alison Slater, prosecuting on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority, said that the video footage showed Knowles launching the aircraft, incriminating himself in the process.

Following the hearing, Knowles said he was considering launching an appeal against the verdict.

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