Hover drone leads to suspect arrest

Police used a heat-seeking hover drone to arrest a suspected car thief who had hidden in bushes, it has been revealed.

The remote-controlled device was used by officers on Merseyside to find the 16-year-old suspect among thick undergrowth.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) - a four-rotor flying camera - picked him out from 300ft away. It was the first time a UAV had been used in an arrest.

The device, operated by a police officer on the ground, used thermal-imaging technology on a dark night to expose the teenager's hiding place.

The vehicle, which is fitted with flashing police lights, can reach a speed of up to 30mph. Merseyside Police plans for the UAV to be used in firearms incidents and hostage situations among other things.

Chief Inspector Nick Gunatilleke, from the Anti-social Behaviour Taskforce, said: "We are the only police force in the country currently using a UAV like this, and this is the first time the thermal imaging equipment has led directly to an arrest since the UAV went live in November so we are very pleased."

Copyright © Press Association 2010