Cheltenham to enforce no-fly zone in bid to stop use of drones
Restricted air space will be in operation during four days of racing festival
A drone is captured by a TV camera at Leicester Racecourse on January 22nd. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Punters betting in running at next week’s Cheltenham Festival may face prosecution if caught using a drone over the track.
A no-fly zone will be put in place throughout the four-day meeting, which will be imposed on anyone or anything not under the guidance of the course’s temporary air traffic control – with the exception of the emergency services.
With no legal restrictions in air space over racecourses, the police have been powerless to take action against sightings of drones in use at other meetings – including those at Leicester and Haydock among others in recent weeks.
Racegoers can expect to see one drone in authorised use throughout the duration of the festival, with ITV Racing granted permission to fly one as part of its aerial coverage.
Gloucestershire Police said in a statement: “Officers have considered security issues, including the use of drones, as part of operational planning for the day.
“As is standard practice, we are working with the racecourse and other agencies involved in the Festival to help deliver a safe and secure event.
“A restricted air space is in operation above the racecourse, and anyone flying an aircraft without the necessary permission will be committing an offence.”
Officials at Cheltenham Racecourse declined to comment on the matter.