THE rising popularity of drones is presenting a particular challenge for police officers in Helensburgh and Lomond, according to the area's police chief.

Inspector Roddy MacNeill touched on the issue of drone use in the area, likening their popularity to the Scalextric home car racing games which were hugely popular in the 1980s, in an update given to members of the local community planning group (CPG) in Garelochhead last week.

Inspector MacNeill's update comes after the commanding officer of HM Naval Base Clyde, Commodore Donald Doull, issued a public reminder about the 'no fly zone' which extends for a two-kilometre radius around Faslane and Coulport – and which applies to drone use as well as to conventional aircraft.

READ MORE: Commodore's warning over drone use near Royal Navy's Clyde base

Inspector MacNeill told CPG members: “There has been a real upsurge in the use of drones – they are the new Scalextric.

“These areas have no fly zones and there is actually very strict legislation for the use of them anywhere."

People living on the Rosneath peninsula have reported the appearance of several roadside signs in the past week advising that drone use is prohibited in the area around the naval base.

Ministry of Defence officials confirmed towards the end of 2018 that a drone had been sighted in the air close to Faslane, advising that the person operating the drone had not been identified and that while an investigation was ongoing, there was no risk to any Royal Navy vessel or to the public.

And just last week, police in Inverclyde announced that a 52-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of flying a drone too close to a Royal Navy submarine.

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In a letter published in the May 9 issue of the Advertiser, Commodore Doull said: "HM Naval Base Clyde, the Dockyard Port of Gareloch and Loch Long, as well as other military lands in the local area, are protected by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) no-fly zones.

"Consequently, it is an offence to fly a drone in these areas without prior authorisation from the CAA.

"Anyone considering operating a drone, for work or leisure, should ensure they do so responsibly and in compliance with CAA regulations."

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