A SIT in protest took place in Worcester to ‘reclaim the park’ after residents say they are being ‘plagued’ by drone pilots on race days.
According to local councillors, Matthew Jenkins and Jenny Barnes, drones are being launched from Lansdowne Park to transmit images from the race course to gamblers during race days.
Cllr Jenkins organised a sit in at the park to ‘reclaim the space’ during the last race day on June 30.
He said: “The people operating the drones are supposedly using them for betting syndicates, filming the horse racing as it happens. I suggested last race day that as many residents as possible come to the park to “reclaim” it from the drones.
“I am aware that RGS Worcester is equally concerned and there have been many complaints from residents.
“From what I am led to believe, it is illegal to operate/fly a drone within 50 metres of anyone, which would be very difficult if anyone is in Lansdowne Park as the drones are taking off.”
Cllr Barnes said police officers attended the park on June 30 and moved the drone pilots on – but this hasn’t stopped the problem.
She said: “Since the recent intervention pilots have started to launch from Lansdowne Crescent, at times blocking the road junction by landing on the road. When local residents approach them they are met with passive aggression.
“The drones transmit images from the racecourse to gamblers, enabling subscribers to see the outcome faster than TV images, thus giving an advantage over those they gamble against.
“The racecourse has not given permission which may be why the launch is a distance away.
“Drones are licensed by Civil Aviation Authority, but residents who are impacted are referred to the police 101 number despite the lack of powers to act – unless the drones launch from private land without permission.
“It may well be that other cities with racecourses have a similar problem. A change in national legislation is needed to protect the public.”
A Worcester City Council spokesman said: “Worcester City Council has not given permission for the commercial operation of drones from any sites that we manage in the city. We worked with the Police to stop a drone being flown from Lansdowne Park on Wednesday, June 20.
“We will investigate any reports we receive of drones being flown for commercial purposes from other land in the city which we manage.”