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Gwent Police drones to tackle crime and off-road driving

Gwent Police will become the second force in Wales to use drones to help fight crime.

It now has permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to use the unmanned aircrafts to help search for missing people, tackle anti-social behaviour and other operations.

Campaigners say they hope it can help tackle illegal off-road driving.

South Wales Police have used drones since last year, but as yet the other forces do not.

Anthony Price, a farmer from Blaina in Blaenau Gwent, said off-road driving had been a problem since the 1970s but had become worse in recent years.

“There was one particular day there was actually 70 quad bikes, motorbikes came up – that was the most number of vehicles we’ve seen.

“We’ve erected barriers to try to stop them going up the mountain but someone’s been and cut the lock.”

Nick Smith, Blaenau Gwent MP, said some off-road bikers go “where the police do not” and called for the use of drones to help in operations.

He said damage had been caused in other parts of his constituency including Tredegar and across the heads of the valleys.

Sgt Matt Briggs from Gwent Police said: “We have been liaising with farmers in the area and working with our colleagues in the Torfaen area to address concerns relating to illegal off road biking, specifically in the Blaina and Blaenavon areas.

“Regular operations will be taking place and anyone seen riding illegally in the area will be stopped and appropriate action taken and/or bikes seized.”


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