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Prisons: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 188007, tabled on 5 November 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on how many occasions the illegal use of drones in the vicinity of the prison estate has resulted in convictions in each of the last three years.

Answered on

12 November 2018

We are taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for criminals to bring contraband, including drugs and mobile phones, into prisons. Last year we launched Operation Trenton, a specialist team of Prison Service and Police investigators, to work together to intercept drones and track down the criminals behind them.

It is not possible to identify from centrally held data which convictions secured under the Prison Act 1952 relate specifically to drones. However, we believe that at least 45 people have been convicted of illicit drone activity, with those sentenced serving a total of more than 140 years in prison. On 26 October, following the largest investigation of its kind, an organised criminal gang of 15 were collectively sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison for using drones to drop drugs into a number of prisons. The ringleader, Lee Anslow, received a sentence of 10 years, the highest single sentence for drone-related activity to date.

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