A CARLISLE drone enthusiast has turned his hobby into a business - and is already exploring some innovative uses for the technology.

Mark Charters, 51, was formerly a manager at Royal Mail but has been flying drones as a hobby for two or three years.

Now Mark, a CAA-qualified pilot, has turned that hobby into a business with the local franchise of The SkyCam group.

Mark said that drone technology has advanced "massively" in recent years and that some new drones can cost up to £20,000.

But he added that using the technology is "still a relatively new thing" in Cumbria.

"There are a lot of uses that people don't think of," he said.

Use of drones in the agricultural sector is one avenue he's exploring.

"I had a call from a farmer recently," he said. "He'd lost nine cattle. With the drone it only took us around half an hour to find them. It would have taken far longer on the ground."

In addition to tracking down wayward livestock, Mark offers up a huge number of other possibilties for the technology, from property sales "fly-throughs" to events and commercial clients. He said he has already worked with Carlisle United.

His drone's thermal imaging technology offers up other possibilities, from assessing heat loss from buildings to aiding night-time search and rescue operations.

Mark's business SkyCam Carlisle will cover clients in the Cumbria and south-west Scotland area.