Gatwick drone chaos: arrested couple released without charge
Airport offering €55,000 reward for information on culprits who are still at large
Passengers wait at a departure hall of Gatwick Airport after flights resumed once again. Photograph: EPA
Sussex police said on Sunday that the man and woman had been released without charge and ruled out of their inquiries.
It means whoever flew the drones so close to Gatwick that Christmas flights had to be cancelled is still at large.
Following the most disruptive incident ever caused by a drone at a major international airport, detectives interviewed the 47-year-old man and 54-year-old woman from Crawley as forensic officers searched a house in the West Sussex town, three miles south of Gatwick.
A series of drone sightings above its runway had forced Britain’s second-largest airport to shut three times in three days last week, leaving about 140,000 passengers stranded. It was the airport’s biggest disruption since the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud of 2010.
Gatwick Airport is offering a £50,000 (€55,000) reward for information leading to the capture of the culprits.
Meanwhile, the two suspects who were pictured and named by some news outlets will try to return to their normal lives.
Police emphasised that the two people they had arrested had co-operated fully after being detained in the high-profile investigation.
In a statement, Det Chief Supt Jason Tingley, of Sussex police, said: “Both people have fully co-operated with our inquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick.
“It is important to remember that when people are arrested in an effort to make further inquiries it does not mean that they are guilty of an offence and Sussex police would not seek to make their identity public.
“Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation.
“We ask for the public’s continued support by reporting anything suspicious, contacting us with any information in relation to the drone incidents at Gatwick.”